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Tag Archives: patent infringement

The debate over “Patent Trolls” revisited

The debate regarding what to do about “Patent Trolls” has lately been gaining steam and has been brought to the public attention in various ways. The term “Patent Trolls” usually refers to a person or company that attempts to enforce patent rights against accused infringers, despite the fact that the person or company being labeled a “Patent Troll” does not practice the invention by manufacturing products or supplying services. Thus, many “Patent Trolls” are considered non-practicing entities.

Many complaints regarding “Patent Trolls” focus in on the practice of “Patent Trolls” filing lawsuits in an attempt to pressure a settlement and/or a licensing deal because the accused infringer has to face the prospect of incurring significant legal fees to defend the lawsuit, even though the basis for the lawsuit may be weak or even lacking merit. Such lawsuits are often filed in the Eastern District of Texas, which is known for its expertise in patent suits. This can cause additional expenses, such as contesting the venue of the lawsuit and/or travel time. Further, if the “Patent Troll” is a non-practicing entity, then it will be difficult in most cases for an accused infringer to file a counter-claim for patent infringement against the “Patent Troll,” because the “Patent Troll” does not practice the invention.

It appears that the debate regarding “Patent Trolls” has even made its way to the movie screen and will be addressed in an upcoming Independent film.[1] In addition, some states, such as Florida, have proposed legislation to address “Patent Trolls.” In Florida, the Patent Troll Prevention Act has been passed. This legislation is codified in Florida Statutes §§ 501.991-997. We have previously addressed the issue of this legislation in a prior blog article as well as Patent Trolls and the Innovation Act of 2015.

Regardless of what side of this issue you fall, the debate regarding “Patent Trolls” does not appear to be going away in the near future.

Please contact our office if you have any questions regarding the information in this article.

Daniel Devine, Esq.
Santucci Priore, P.L.
Shareholder

[1] See, http://greenless.com/films/the-trolls/

Toys “R” Us sued for patent infringement by maker of Crocs shoes

Recently, Toys “R” Us was sued for patent infringement by the company that makes Crocs brand footwear.[1] The dispute revolves around the sale of “foam clog footwear” entitled “Koala Kids” by Toys “R” Us.[2] The Plaintiff claims that the sale of such footwear by Toys “R” Us infringes upon its patent rights in U.S. Patent Registration Nos. 6,993,858 (for “Breathable Footwear Pieces”) and D610,784 (for “Footwear”).[3] Specifically, the Plaintiff alleges that Toys “R” Us’ “Koala Kids” footwear are too similar to Plaintiff’s Crocband shoes.[4] The Complaint alleges two counts of federal patent infringement.[5] Further, the Plaintiff alleges that Toys “R” Us’ alleged infringement was willful because Toys “R” Us allegedly knew of Plaintiff’s claims as early as October, 2012.[6] The Complaint seeks an injunction and monetary relief, including exemplary damages and recovery of Plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees and costs.[7]

We will be monitoring the statues of this case. Please contact our office if you have any questions regarding the information in this article.

Daniel Devine, Esq.
Santucci Priore, P.L.
Shareholder

[1] See, Crocs, Inc. v. Toys “R” Us, Inc., Case No. 16-cv-1846, at Docket Entry No. 1 (D. Col. July 19, 2016).
[2] Id.
[3] Id.
[4] Id.
[5] Id.
[6] Id.
[7] Id.

Facebook sued for patent infringement over Facebook Messenger app

Recently, a company called Uniloc sued Facebook for patent infringement.[1] The Plaintiffs allege to own several patents in the “field of text/voice instant messaging.”[2] The lawsuit revolves around a dispute over whether the Facebook Messenger app infringes upon the Plaintiffs’ patents.[3] The Plaintiffs’ Complaint specifically references five patents that it claims to own which are entitled “SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR INSTANT VOIP MESSAGING” and which allegedly issued on May 19, 2009, June 12, 2012, August, 14, 2012, May 13, 2014, and March 31, 2015, respectively.[4] The Complaint requests injunctive relief and monetary damages, including recovery of attorneys’ fees and costs.[5]

In order to resolve this dispute the Court will need to look at the “claims” of the Plaintiffs’ patents, which identify the elements of the invention(s). The Court will then need to compare the claims of the Plaintiffs’ patents to the allegedly infringing device, i.e., the Facebook Messenger, to see if infringement has occurred. The Court may also need to consider whether the Plaintiffs waited too long to file the lawsuit, considering that some of its alleged patents were registered in 2009 and 2012. This is known as a laches defense and must be asserted by the Defendant in response to the Plaintiffs’ Complaint. We will be monitoring the progress of this case as it is still in its early stages.

Please contact our office if you have any questions regarding the information in this article.

Daniel Devine, Esq.
Santucci Priore, P.L.
Shareholder

[1] See, Uniloc USA, Inc., et. al. v. Facebook, Inc., Case NO. 16-cv-00728-JRG, at Docket Entry #1 (E.D. Tex. July 5, 2016).
[2] Id.
[3] Id.
[4] Id.
[5] Id.