September 2012

September 27, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles – The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office unveiled a patent application continuation Thursday that Apple Inc. filed earlier this year seeking a patent for its Siri voice assistant feature on the iPhone.

The patent application, originally filed in June and titled “Intelligent automated assistant,” describes a system that engages with the user in an integrated, conversational manner using natural language dialogue, and invokes external services when appropriate to obtain information or perform various actions.

The system can be implemented using any of a number of different platforms, such as the web, email, smartphone or any combination of those platforms.

In one embodiment, the system is based on sets of interrelated domains and tasks, and employs additional functionality powered by external services with which the system can interact, according to the patent description.

In various embodiments of the invention, an intelligent automated assistant is implemented on an electronic device to facilitate user interaction with that device, and to help the user more effectively engage with local and remote services.

The invention can be used to discover, investigate, select among, reserve, and otherwise learn about things to do, places to go, places to eat or drink, times and places to meet others, and any other source of entertainment or social interaction which may be found on the Internet, the patent description says.

“Today’s electronic devices are able to access a large, growing, and diverse quantity of functions, services, and information, both via the Internet and from other sources,” the patent background says. “Many users may have difficulty even discovering what functionality and/or information is available on their electronic devices or on various websites; thus, such users may become frustrated or overwhelmed, or may simply be unable to use the resources available to them in an effective manner.”

“Existing systems are often difficult to use and to navigate, and often present users with inconsistent and overwhelming interfaces that often prevent the users from making effective use of the technology,” the patent background says.

The inventors are listed as Thomas Robert Gruber, Adam John Cheyer, Dag Kittlaus, Didier Rene Guzzoni, Christopher Dean Brigham, Richard Donald Giuli, Marcello Bastea-Forte and Harry Joseph Saddler.

Kittlaus is a co-founder of the company that originally developed Siri, which Apple bought. Kittlaus left Apple in 2011 after the debut of Siri on the iPhone 4S.

September 24, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles – TiVo Inc. said Monday that it has reached a deal to settle its patent infringement lawsuit against Verizon Communications, under which Verizon will pay $250.4 million and the parties will enter a mutual patent licensing arrangement.

In addition to the guaranteed compensation, Verizon will also pay monthly license fees through July 2018 for each Verizon DVR subscriber in excess of certain pre-determined levels, TiVo said.

“We are pleased to reach an agreement with Verizon which underscores the significant value our distribution partners derive from TiVo’s technological innovations and our shareholders derive from our investments in protecting TiVo’s intellectual property,” TiVo CEO and President Tom Rogers said. “We also look forward to working together on a variety of future opportunities as we continue to expand the content choices available to TiVo subscribers.”

Verizon and TiVo are now exploring future distribution of Internet video services developed through Verizon’s joint venture with Redbox, by making content distributed via that service part of the content accessible to users of TiVo’s retail DVR products, the companies said.

As part of the settlement, TiVo and Verizon agreed to dismiss all pending litigation between the companies with prejudice. The parties also entered into a cross license of their respective patent portfolios in the advanced television field.

“As with prior settlements, we also benefit by being able to operate our business under license from Verizon and by avoiding future legal expenses that we would have incurred during and after trial,” Rogers said. “Furthermore, we believe this settlement positions us well with respect to future enforceability of our patents.”

TiVo sued Verizon in 2009 alleging it infringed TiVo’s patents for digital video recording technology. TiVo asserted three patents, including U.S. Patent Number 6,233,389, entitled “Multimedia Time Warping System,” U.S. Patent Number 7,529,465 B2, entitled “System for Time Shifting Multimedia Content Streams” and U.S. Patent No. 7,493,015 B1, entitled “Automatic Playback Overshoot Correction System.”

Verizon’s FiOS television product offers digital video recording, among other services, that infringe the three patents, according to TiVo. The case had been set to go to trial in October.

September 20, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles – Unwired Planet LLC hit Google Inc. and Apple Inc. with matching patent infringement lawsuits in Nevada federal court Wednesday alleging that they are using Unwired Planet’s patented technology in their mobile products.

Unwired Planet is asserting 10 patents related to wireless technology against Apple and 10 different ones against Google. Google’s mobile app services such as Google Play, Google Maps, Google Ad-Words and other signature services are identified as infringing. Apple’s App Store, location services, Siri iPhone feature and various other mobile app systems using the iOS operating system including iPhones, iPads and iPods came under fire as well.

Unwired Planet claims to be widely regarded as a pioneer of the mobile internet, saying that it invented many of the fundamental technologies that allowed mobile devices to connect to the internet in meaningful ways.

The company claims to have been instrumental in developing the Wireless Application Protocol, which was the first widely used standard that allowed mobile devices such as cellular phones to connect to the internet.

“Unwired Planet was founded with the vision of bringing the ‘internet-in-your-pocket’ to the world,” the complaint says. “But, at the time of the inventions at issue here, most technology firms were not interested. While Unwired Planet saw the need for applications and environments that could leverage emerging devices and increasing bandwidth, other technology firms were too focused on their old way of doing business.”

As a result, Unwired Planet was the first to put an internet browser into a phone, signing a deal with AT&T in 1996 through its predecessor, the company says.

Unwired Planet’s predecessor company Openwave Systems Inc. was formed in 2000 in a $6.4 billion merger between Phone.com and Software.com. By mid-2001, about 97 percent of internet-ready mobile phones in the U.S. and 75 percent overseas used an Openwave browser, the company says.

“Unfortunately, merely having patents did not protect Openwave from infringing competition,” the complaint says.

As Openwave’s revenues and market share fell, it had to downsize, and the alleged onslaught of infringing competition eventually forced Openwave out of the market it created. Openwave sold its product businesses in April, but retained its patent portfolio and changed its name to Unwired Planet.

“Unwired Planet retained its patents, representing almost two decades of investment, allowing the company to focus its efforts on licensing its fundamental patent portfolio to the companies whose infringement put it out of the software and service businesses,” the complaint says.

September 18, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles – The Federal Circuit on Tuesday reversed a lower court’s ruling that found Medtronic Inc. did not infringe two heart implant device patents licensed to a Boston Scientific Corp. unit, saying the burden of proof was misconstrued.

The district court relied on a legally incorrect allocation of the burden of proof to find noninfringement in the limited circumstances of the case, and incorrectly construed the claim terms in question, the Federal Circuit ruled.

Medtronic filed a complaint in Delaware federal court seeking declaratory judgment of noninfringement and invalidity of Boston Scientific patent licensor Mirowski Family Ventures LLC’s U.S. Reissue Patent Numbers RE38,119 and RE39,897. The district court entered judgment of noninfringement in favor of Medtronic and judgment of validity and enforceability in favor of MFV.

MFV appealed the district court’s judgment of noninfringement and Medtronic cross appealed the district court’s claim construction on which its judgment of validity is based.

MFV did not bear the burden of proof and its expert was therefore not obliged to do more than rebut Medtronic’s contentions, the Federal Circuit ruled. The district court’s conclusion that the defendants have failed to prove literal infringement by a preponderance of the evidence cannot stand, it said.

Medtronic and the district court did not appreciate the appropriate allocation of the burden of proof and how the burden affected the parties’ conduct during discovery, according to the Federal Circuit. Accordingly, it is within the district court’s discretion on remand whether to limit Medtronic to its current interrogatory answer, or to allow Medtronic to amend its interrogatory answer to include any additional noninfringement contentions it may wish to assert, the appeals court said.

The district court erred by restricting the claimed invention to the treatment of congestive heart failure, the Federal Circuit said. It vacated the district court’s determination of no invalidity predicated on the improper claim construction.

On remand, Medtronic may press its invalidity contention based upon the correct claim construction the Federal Circuit said.

MFV developed a cardiac resynchronization therapy device which increases the heart’s efficacy by causing both the patient’s left and right ventricles to contract simultaneously as the heart beats. The device was ultimately patented in what are now the RE’119 and RE’897 Patents, both assigned to MFV. MFV exclusively licenses both patents to Boston Scientific affiliate Guidant Corp.

September 17, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles – Internet security software and technology company VirnetX Holding Corp. said Monday that it has refiled its Section 337 patent infringement complaint against Apple Inc. with the U.S. International Trade Commission over wireless security technology.

Apple has engaged in unfair trade practices by the importation, sale for importation, and sale after importation of certain devices with secure communication capabilities that infringe one or more claims of VirnetX’s U.S. Patent Number 8,051,181, VirnetX says. The accused products include the latest iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Macintosh computers.

VirnetX is now bringing the complaint jointly with Science Applications International Corp., which sold VirnetX part of its patent portfolio in 2006. SAIC had to be included to remove a procedural standing issue that was identified as the reason for dismissal of VirnetX’s previous complaint, VirnetX said.

VirnetX has asked the ITC to institute an investigation into Apple’s allegedly infringing imports and ultimately issue an exclusion order to bar importation of those Apple products. The company is also seeking a cease and desist order to stop further sales and other domestic commercial activities of infringing Apple products that have already been imported.

The ITC investigation is expected to formally commence on or about October 13, and the case will likely be tried in the second half of 2013.

“We feel confident that our re-filing satisfies all previous ITC issues,” VirnetX CEO and President Kendall Larsen said in a statement. “We now look forward to our case schedule and assignment of an Administrative Law Judge. We believe the merits of our complaint are strong and substantial.”

The ’181 patent, which issued on November 1, 2011, is titled “Method for establishing secure communication link between computers of virtual private network.”

Initially, a secure communication mode of communication is enabled at a first computer without a user entering any cryptographic information for establishing the secure communication mode of communication, according to the patent abstract. Then, a secure communication link is established between the first computer and a second computer over a computer network based on the enabled secure communication mode of communication.

The secure communication link is a virtual private network communication link over the computer network in which one or more data values that vary according to a pseudo-random sequence are inserted into each data packet, the patent abstract says.

September 13, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles – The Regents of the University of California hit Facebook Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Walt Disney Co. on Wednesday with three separate lawsuits alleging they infringed four patents for interactive technology developed by the university.

The university and Eolas Technologies Inc., a Texas-based entity created to manage and commercialize the university’s intellectual property portfolio, accuse the three companies of infringing U.S. Patent Numbers 5,838,906, 7,599,985, 8,082,293 and 8,086,662.

All of the patents are titled “Distributed hypermedia method and system for automatically invoking external application providing interaction and display of embedded objects within a hypermedia document.”

Eolas has an exclusive license to the patents including all exclusionary rights under the patents, and the exclusive right to prevent others from using or practicing the patented methods, the complaints in the Eastern District of Texas say.

The companies are infringing the patents by offering web pages and content to be interactively presented in browsers, software that allows content to be interactively presented in or served to browsers, and computer equipment that stores, serves or runs any of those web pages or software, the university says.

Two of the patents in suit, the ’906 and ’985 patents were ruled to be invalid earlier this year by a Texas jury in a different case against Amazon.com Inc., Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and other companies. The university and Eolas plan to appeal the invalidity finding to the Federal Circuit.

The university filed a motion to stay in each of its cases against Facebook, Wal-Mart and Disney on the same day as its complaints, saying the Federal Circuit’s eventual ruling on the invalidity appeal is likely to have a material effect on the allegations in the three new cases.

The university and Eolas filed the three new suits to preserve damages during the remaining life of the patents in suit in the event that the Federal Circuit reverses the invalidity finding in the earlier action, they said.

The motion to stay requests that the Texas district court stay all deadlines in the new cases until after the Federal Circuit resolves the appeal in the earlier case.

September 11, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles — The Federal Circuit on Thursday affirmed that K-Tec Inc., maker of the Blendtec line of blenders made famous by the company’s popular “Will It Blend?” Youtube promotional videos, is entitled to a $24 million patent infringement judgment in its favor against rival blender maker Vita-Mix Corp.

Vita-Mix appealed the Utah district court’s conclusions that it infringed the asserted claims of two K-Tec patents, that two prior art references were not analogous art for the purposes of an obviousness analysis, and that substantial evidence supported the jury’s findings that the asserted claims were not proved invalid. Vita-Mix also appealed findings that Vita-Mix’s infringement was willful, and that K-Tec was entitled to approximately $11 million in reasonable royalty and lost profits damages. The district judge later handed down enhanced damages that increased the award to roughly $24 million.

“The district court did not err in any respect and the jury’s findings were properly supported,” the Federal Circuit ruled.

K-Tec owns U.S. Patents 6,979,117 and 7,281,842, which generally disclose and claim a blending system that contains a blending jar with a specific geometry. The benefit of the claimed geometry is that it alters the flow pattern of the liquid during blending in a way that reduces cavitation, which occurs when a pocket of air envelops the area surrounding the blender blade during blending.

In 2001, K-Tec began selling a five-sided blending jar that was an embodiment of the ’117 and ’842 patents’ claims. After K-Tec acquired a number of customers in 2001 and 2002, Vita-Mix began to con- sider upgrading its existing four-sided container.

In that process, its “example” design was K-Tec’s five-sided container, the appeals court said. Although Vita-Mix attempted different design changes, it introduced its new container in May 2003, a design that Vita-Mix personnel admitted was a copy of K-Tec’s five-sided container.

September 11, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Los Angeles — Nike Inc. was issued patents last week for golf clubs that include digital measuring equipment and shoes equipped with data transmission systems to track their use and send the information to a computer or other device.

U.S. Patent Number 8,258,941, issued Sept. 4 and titled “ Footwear products including data transmission capabilities,” covers a shoe with a transmission system that transmits data to a remote system. Such footwear systems may also include activation systems for activating the transmission or display systems.

The transmitted data may be used for various purposes, such as identifying a user of the article of footwear, activating targeted advertising or product information, or confirming the user’s presence at a specific location or at a specific time.

The data may also be used for determining start, finish or intermediate split times for a specific user, confirming athletic equipment usage, providing data for a game or reward program or registering the user for an event or competition, among other possible uses, according to the patent abstract.

U.S. Patent Number 8,257,191, titled “ Golf clubs and golf club heads having digital lie and/or other angle measuring equipment” and also issued Sept. 4, covers golf club heads with sensors configured to measure one or more swing parameters. The golf club head may include several gyroscopes and accelerometers.

In one embodiment, the club head contains three gyroscopes that measure angular rate data along different orthogonal axes. At least one gyroscope may be an analog gyroscope, while accelerometers may provide data regarding the three orthogonal axes associated with the gyroscopes.

The club head may also include software or hardware that perform computer-executed methods for determining one or more swing parameters. Club heads could also include a display device for displaying an output of the swing parameters.

Further aspects of the invention relate to novel methods and algorithms for calculating measurements relating to the swing parameters.

September 3, 2012, by Mandour & Associates, APC

Apple Inc. filed an amended complaint against Samsung Electronics Co. on Friday bringing additional Samsung devices, including the company’s Galaxy S III phone, into the massive patent infringement battle against its Korean rival that yielded a $1 billion jury verdict in Apple’s favor in a related suit just one week earlier.

Despite Apple’s April 2011 lawsuit, Samsung has continued to flood the market with copycat products, including at least 17 new infringing products released prior to filing the original complaint in the current action, the amended complaint says.

Since then, Samsung has continued to release new infringing products, including its current flagship device, the Galaxy S III, Apple says.

While Samsung’s new products infringe many of the same design patents, utility patents, trademarks, and trade dress rights that are at issue in the earlier case, Samsung’s new products also infringe additional utility patents, some of which issued after Apple filed the earlier case.

“Samsung has systematically copied Apple’s innovative technology and products, features and designs, and has deluged markets with infringing devices in an effort to usurp market share from Apple,” the amended complaint says. “Instead of pursuing independent product development, Samsung slavishly copied Apple’s innovative technology, with its elegant and distinctive user interfaces product design, in violation of Apple’s valuable intellectual property rights.”

The new complaint focuses on eight Apple utility patents, four of which were issued after Apple filed its earlier lawsuit, and none of which were at issue in that lawsuit. They include U.S. Patent Numbers 5,946,647, titled “System and method for performing an action on a structure in computer-generated data;” 6,847,959, titled “Universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system;” 8,046,721, titled “Unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image;” and 8,074,172, titled “Method, system, and graphical user interface for providing word recommendations.”

The remaining four include U.S. Patent Numbers 8,014,760, titled “Missed telephone call management for a portable multifunction device;” 5,666,502, titled “Graphical user interface using historical lists with field classes;” 7,761,414, titled “Asynchronous data synchronization amongst devices;” and 8,086,604, titled “Universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system.”

The allegedly infringing Samsung products include at least 21 new smartphones, media players, and tablets that Samsung has released since August 2011. Apple’s amended complaint specifically names the Galaxy S III, Galaxy S III – Verizon, Galaxy Note, Galaxy S II Skyrocket, Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch, Galaxy S II, Galaxy S II – T-Mobile, Galaxy S II – AT&T, Galaxy Nexus, Illusion, Captivate Glide, Exhibit II 4G, Stratosphere, Transform Ultra, Admire, Conquer 4G, and Dart smartphones, the Galaxy Player 4.0 and Galaxy Player 5.0 media players, and the Galaxy Note10.1, Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus and Galaxy Tab 8.9 tablets.