New England IP Blog

Covering intellectual property developments in New England, and other developments that impact New England companies.

Category Archives: Massachusetts

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IP Roundtable With Chief Judge Saris

The Boston Bar Association and the Boston Patent Law Association will be hosting Chief Judge Saris of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts at their upcoming IP Roundtable event. The event is scheduled for May 4, 2016, from 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm, and is expected to include discussions on the current trends and issues concerning intellectual … Continue Reading

Blink And You’ll Miss Your Window To Intervene In An Infringement Suit

Judge Indira Talwani emphasized the importance of timely intervention in any patent infringement suit, in a recent opinion out of the District of Massachusetts. In this case, an exclusive licensee of several patents was not permitted to intervene in a patent infringement suit, largely because its motion was filed many months too late. The Hilsinger Company, … Continue Reading

Wisp of a Possibility of Gas Kit Lawsuit May Establish Declaratory Judgment Jurisdiction

In a recent case concerning propane gas kits used as an alternative fuel conversion system, the District of Massachusetts found that declaratory judgment jurisdiction exists, even though the parties in the case had entered into an extended covenant not to sue. The opinion reasoned that because the accused infringer, New England Gen-Connect, is presently making and selling the accused products and … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Jury Verdict Stands After Court Ruling on Laches

A Massachusetts court recently denied defendant Kaz’s motions for judgment on the defenses of laches and equitable estoppel, letting stand an earlier jury verdict that found Kaz had infringed Exergen’s patents for temporal thermometers.  As we previously reported, the verdict awarded the plaintiff almost $15 million in damages.… Continue Reading

On Appeal, No Fee Shifting Credit for LevelUp

In a recent patent appeal involving a Boston-based mobile payment startup, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit signaled its reluctance to disturb district courts’ discretion in fee shifting decisions. The Federal Circuit affirmed, without a written opinion, the District of Massachusetts’ decision denying LevelUp an award of attorneys’ fees, even though LevelUp had won summary … Continue Reading

Plaintiff Secures Sweeping Jury Verdict in Hotly-Contested Patent Fight

In a long-running patent fight involving two medical device manufacturers, a Massachusetts jury determined last week that the defendant Kaz had infringed two of plaintiff Exergen’s patents relating to temporal thermometers, and that the patents are not invalid. The jury also awarded Exergen nearly $15 million in damages.… Continue Reading

Relating a Software Copyright Infringement Claim Back to its Source

In a recent order, Judge Douglas P. Woodlock of the District of Massachusetts untangled a complicated timeline to decide motions for summary judgment regarding several copyright infringement and related claims on a statute of limitations basis. The analysis is instructive to prospective plaintiffs as to when a complaint should be filed, which potential defendants it … Continue Reading

Defendant’s Argument to Exclude Damages Theory Heads in the Wrong Direction

Although courts and commentators have turned up the heat on the entire market value rule (EMVR) in recent years, it can be a useful tool for a patentee to obtain significant damages where the evidence shows that the patented feature is the basis of consumer demand for the accused product. Thus, defendants often try to … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Court Clears Patent Prosecutors of Malpractice Claims Arising From Representation of Clients in Same Technology Area

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court yesterday affirmed a lower court’s dismissal of a legal malpractice suit finding that, “simultaneous representation by a law firm in the prosecution of patents for two clients competing in the same technology area for similar inventions is not a per se violation,” of certain Massachusetts attorney professional conduct rules. The … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Court Takes the Temperature of Defendant’s Inequitable Conduct Claim on Summary Judgment

In a recent decision out of the District of Massachusetts, Judge Stearns assessed Kaz’s inequitable conduct defense on summary judgment – and found it to come up short by a degree. The opinion is an important reminder that to make out an inequitable conduct defense, a litigant must make a strong showing as to both … Continue Reading

Plaintiff Avoids Headache of Having Its Thermometer Patent Invalidated at Summary Judgment

In a recent District of Massachusetts case, a defendant attempted to use the crucible of summary judgment to invalidate the plaintiff’s body temperature detection patents. But, as shown in the Court’s ruling, sometimes that strategy does not produce the desired results.… Continue Reading

Summary Judgment Ruling Not a Pretty Picture for Massachusetts Copyright Plaintiff

A recent decision from the District of Massachusetts demonstrates the difficulties that can arise when attempting to protect copyrighted works displayed on the internet.  The July 29, 2015 order issued by the Honorable Patti B. Saris, granted defendants Orgill, Inc. (“Orgill”) and Farm & City Supply, LLC (“FSC”) a split ruling on their summary judgment … Continue Reading

Serial Adversaries Are Still No Big Deal

Judge Indira Talwani issued an order on plaintiff Erik Cherdak’s renewal of his motion to disqualify, which we talked about last year in Serial Adversaries Are No Big Deal. And once again, she found that for Cooley, serial adversaries are still no issue. Judge Talwani again found no evidence that Cooley’s representation of two separate … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Court Sheds Light On Deposition Privilege Waiver Issues

Chief Judge Patti Saris of the District of Massachusetts has issued a significant opinion on privilege waivers in the Trustees of Boston University v. Everlight Electronics case. The opinion concerned a deposition in the case where the deposition witness apparently disclosed a little too much. The issue arose out of a line of questioning common in … Continue Reading

Job Applicant Software Patents Not Terminated for Invalidity

Although the subject matter eligibility of software patents has come under increased scrutiny since the Supreme Court issued its opinion last year in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank, one Massachusetts court recently declined to invalidate a trio of patents directed to job applicant software. Plaintiff Kenexa had asserted infringement claims against three defendants, and two … Continue Reading

Conflicting Expert Opinions Prevent Summary Judgment

A recent summary judgment opinion by Judge Patti B. Saris highlights the importance of expert testimony in substantiating factual disputes and withstanding summary judgment. In denying both parties’ motions for summary judgment on infringement, Judge Saris relied heavily on the opposing opinions of the parties’ experts. Here, Boston University sued Everlight Electronics, a manufacturer of light-emitting … Continue Reading

LevelUp’s Pursuit of Attorney’s Fees Goes Up to the Federal Circuit Level

In an interesting case before Judge Timothy S. Hillman in the District of Massachusetts, a dispute over whether attorney’s fees should be granted is moving up to the Federal Circuit. The case brings back before the Federal Circuit the question of the proper standard for granting attorney’s fees – a standard that has been in … Continue Reading

Foreign Corporations and the Long Arm of the Law

Can foreign corporations avoid the long arm of the law? A recent order in a Massachusetts declaratory judgment patent case suggests that the answer may be, “sometimes.” The case began when Venmill Industries, Inc. filed a complaint in Massachusetts federal court seeking a declaratory judgment of non-infringement of U.S. Patent No. 8,342,905, titled, “Optical Disk Restoration … Continue Reading

Browsewrap Agreement Wraps up Copyright Infringement Case for Defendant

Those rarely-read “Terms and Conditions” on websites can have real teeth. In a case suggesting that posters beware, a District of Massachusetts court recently concluded that a website’s Terms and Conditions caused ownership of the copyrights in a user’s posts to transfer to the website’s operator, despite no evidence that the user actually read and … Continue Reading

Don’t Sleep on Rule 37 Motions

What do you get when opposing counsel repeatedly cancels depositions only days before they are scheduled, allegedly fails to abide by confidentiality agreements and court orders, and repeatedly files supposedly baseless motions requiring substantive responses? Perhaps nothing. At least that appears to be the case from a recent order issued in Massachusetts federal court.… Continue Reading

Cloud Storage Company Grounded in D. Mass.

A patent defendant specializing in “virtual” database systems recently learned how real its burden is when seeking to transfer out of the District of Massachusetts. Delphix Corp. (“Delphix”) and Actifio, Inc. (“Actifio”) have been clashing over “virtual” database patents in the Northern District of California since October 2013. In August 2014, however, Actifio filed suit … Continue Reading

Locating Time Frames for the Hypothetical Negotiation

In determining a reasonable royalty for patent infringement damages, district courts often use the hypothetical negotiation analysis: that is, what is the royalty rate that the patent owner and the infringer would have agreed to in a hypothetical negotiation at the time the infringement began (assuming the patent owner was hypothetically willing to license the patent). … Continue Reading
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