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Patent Litigation - Pre-Trial Strategy

Finnegan defended Broadcom’s Altima subsidiary against Intel’s patent infringement allegations based on four separate patents in two different ITC actions and two different district court cases. Intel withdrew the first patent before trial when we found invalidating prior art. The second patent we proved invalid at trial, and Intel did not seek an appeal. For the third patent, we proved that 14 of 18 claims were invalid and our clients were entitled to use any pattern of solder balls other than a “bulI’s-eye” pattern. And the ITC’s decision in Intel’s favor on the fourth patent was later rejected in the district court case when the judge issued a published decision in Altima’s favor on all claim construction issues.
Trover Group and Security Center sued Finnegan client Axis Communications in the Eastern District of Texas (EDTX), alleging infringement of patents related to video surveillance systems. Axis, a leading network camera manufacturer based in Sweden, turned to Finnegan for its defense in the litigation. In addition to preparing and filing an inter partes review (IPR) petition with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to seek invalidation of the asserted claims, the Finnegan team advanced critical claim constructions previously overlooked by some of the prior defendants. After a successful Markman hearing and ruling on claim construction, letter briefs were filed to request summary judgment briefing. The requests were subsequently granted by the court and, shortly thereafter, a favorable settlement and dismissal of the action was obtained for Axis.
Finnegan client POSCO won a petition for mandamus in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, successfully challenging a district court ruling modifying the protective order to permit use of highly confidential U.S. discovery materials in foreign litigations. The Federal Circuit concluded that, when deciding whether to modify the protective order in such a manner and circumstance, the district court should have considered the factors set out in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Intel Corp. v. Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. The Federal Circuit granted POSCO’s mandamus petition, vacated the district court’s order permitting foreign cross-use of POSCO’s discovery materials, and remanded. Finnegan represented POSCO both in the mandamus petition and in the underlying district court litigation.
Finnegan successfully represented client Syneron Medical Ltd. against Viora Ltd. and Viora Inc. in a patent infringement action in the E.D. Texas. A year after the suit was initiated and just a few months away from a trial, Viora acknowledged the validity of Syneron’s patent and agreed that for the next 12 years, it will pay Syneron royalties of 7.5% to 15%, depending on the number of U.S. sales of Viora systems that apply vacuum together with radio frequency energy for body contouring, cellulite reduction, skin tightening, and circumferential reduction.
In response to litigations brought by CreateAds for a computerized “visual design” solutions patent, Google and Yahoo! asked Finnegan to file an inter partes review (IPR) petition to challenge the claims of the asserted patent. The petition addressed all 20 claims of the patent, based on seven different grounds of prior art, and included a declaration from the author of a prior art Master’s Thesis Paper deposited in the MIT library. The IPR was coordinated with the underlying CreateAds consolidated litigations, in which Finnegan also played a significant role in briefing a summary judgment motion to dispose of the patent under 35 U.S.C. 101. After limited discovery and twice rejecting CreateAds’ claim construction proposals, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) issued a final written decision finding all 20 claims unpatentable in view of the prior art and maintaining all seven instituted grounds advanced by the Finnegan team.
Finnegan defended Korea-based client SK Innovation (SKI) in a patent infringement suit against plaintiff Celgard LLC in the Western District of North Carolina, where Celgard is located. After extensive jurisdictional discovery, the court granted SKI’s motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction and denied Celgard’s motion for preliminary injunction. Finnegan also obtained relief from the court for SKI after it was discovered that Celgard sent SKI confidential information to Celgard’s Korean counsel in unrelated Korean proceedings between the parties. The relief included prohibition of further transmission of SKI confidential information to Celgard’s Korean counsel and a bar against each of Celgard’s Korean attorneys who viewed SKI confidential information from further work on the Korean proceedings. Celgard appealed the district court’s dismissal of the case to the Federal Circuit. Finnegan represented SKI in the appeal as well. After full briefing and an oral argument, the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the case, securing SKI’s victory on the issue of personal jurisdiction.
Bear Creek Technologies, Inc. filed suit in the Eastern District of Virginia against Finnegan client Verizon, along with numerous other major telecommunications companies, alleging infringement of a patent that Bear Creek claimed generally related to Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. After a Markman hearing, the court transferred the case to the District of Delaware for consolidated pretrial proceedings with the other defendants in a multi-district litigation (MDL). The Delaware court decided to stay the proceedings pending a third-party reexamination of the patent-in-suit. After nearly five years of litigation, Finnegan secured a dismissal of the suit against Verizon with prejudice, without the need for dispositive motions or a trial.
The Central District of California entered judgment invalidating all claims that Lochner Technologies—a non-practicing entity—had asserted against Finnegan client Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc.  On summary judgment and before the parties engaged in costly discovery, the judge found the claims invalid for lacking a sufficient written description and for failing to claim what the inventors regarded as their invention.  The court previously issued a favorable claim construction ruling that eliminated most accused products from the case.  The invalidity ruling disposed of the remaining issues.  Initially, Lochner had asserted its patent against twenty-two defendants.  Most settled, but Toshiba and Vizio, Inc. fought until the invalidity ruling brought the district court case to a close.
In an international patent dispute involving courts in the United States and Switzerland, Finnegan guided client Swiss Post through a series of significant victories that ultimately led to a global settlement and favorable outcome to Swiss Post. In the U.S. case filed by RPost that involved patent infringement as well as trademark, false advertising, and Lanham act claims, Finnegan prepared and submitted a motion that resulted in all but the patent infringement claims being dismissed in the early stages of the case by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. We also worked in concert with counsel in Switzerland against concurrent injunction proceedings that were eventually dropped by RPost after the Swiss court's expert issued an invalidity opinion favorable to Swiss Post. The defense strategy also included filing a reexamination of the RPost patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which ultimately rejected all 89 claims in the patent based on prior art identified in our request. In addition, the district court in California agreed to stay the suit until the Patent Office issued a reexamination certificate. When the case resumed, Finnegan obtained critical admissions during the depositions of RPost's officers and expert and subsequently filed a motion for summary judgment on behalf of Swiss Post.  A global settlement agreement between the parties was reached shortly thereafter.
Finnegan defended four different affiliates of GP Batteries International Ltd. in an alkaline battery patent infringement case filed by Eveready at the International Trade Commission against 26 respondents.  SEC records indicated that Duracell had previously paid Eveready $20 million for a license under the Eveready patent and that Rayovac and Panasonic had also been forced into paying Eveready a royalty for their alkaline batteries.  Working closely with the Chairman of the Board, we devised a defense that resulted in a settlement agreement prior to trial that other respondents characterized as a "walk-away" deal. 
Loramax filed patent infringement suits in the Eastern District of Texas against fifty companies, claiming that virtually any company email distribution service infringed an expired patent Loramax obtained. After Finnegan pressed an invalidity defense, which included an inter partes review (IPR), and filed motions to dismiss asserting invalidity under Section 101, Loramax voluntarily dismissed its claims against FedEx.
One year after accusing longstanding Finnegan client FedEx of patent infringement in the Eastern District of Texas, non-practicing entity Catharon IP dismissed its claims against FedEx with prejudice. Catharon IP claimed that its patent covered a common use of Javascript in today’s websites. The dismissal came after Finnegan attorneys filed two IPRs challenging the validity of Catharon’s patent.
In a case that was settled ”on the courthouse steps,” Finnegan was able to obtain for its client BIAX Corporation a favorable settlement with Intel. During claim construction, BIAX’s construction prevailed on the issues important for infringement, which helped lead to the favorable settlement.
Finnegan represented a computer graphics company in an action filed in the District of Delaware against defendants Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., ATI Technologies ULC, and ATI International SRL. The plaintiff sought a declaratory judgment, including damages, on defendants’ claims to ownership of or license to certain valuable patents related to high-performance graphics processing for video games and other graphics intensive software applications. The court ruled on summary judgment that the plaintiff owns the disputed patents, and that the defendants have no ownership interest or express license to the disputed patents.
The market for high-end, large-capacity, technologically advanced washing machines is intensely competitive. When LG entered the U.S. market, Whirlpool and Fischer & Paykel each sued LG, claiming LG’s washers infringed their patents. They did not prevail. Instead, in each case, Finnegan employed an aggressive pretrial strategy that identified strong invalidity defenses. The strength of LG’s prior art defenses caused the opponent in each case to submit the patents to reexamination and stay the cases, pending the reexaminations. When the reexaminations were completed years after the respective lawsuits were initiated, the Fisher & Paykel action was dismissed, and the Whirlpool action was settled at very favorable terms. LG’s washers remain one of the market leaders in the U.S.
Finnegan client GTECH Corporation was sued in the Eastern District of Texas for patent infringement by Flashmark Technologies and various individuals. GTECH sells lottery terminals and tickets, and Flashmark accused the company of infringing a patent related to document cancellation. The court issued its Markman decision, construing the claims in a way that precluded a finding of infringement against GTECH. Following this decision, the parties filed a stipulation of noninfringement.
Home Diagnostics Inc. (now Nipro Diagnostics) is one of the largest cobranders of blood glucose products for diabetics and offers low-cost alternatives to products offered by competitors. After a three-year battle with Roche, the district court granted a summary judgment of noninfringement in favor of HDI, concluding that no reasonable juror could find that HDI products infringed Roche's patent relating to blood glucose monitors. The first phase of the case had concluded successfully for HDI when the court ruled, following a bench trial, that Roche's other patent-in-suit had been obtained by inequitable conduct and is unenforceable.
In this case involving a design patent, Chef’n Corporation accused Finnegan client Trudeau Corp. of infringing a patent for a silicone vegetable steamer. The Western District of Washington granted summary judgment of no infringement in favor of Trudeau. As part of the order, Judge Pechman also granted Trudeau’s motion to strike the declarations of two industry experts produced by Chef’n. Earlier in the case, Trudeau successfully defeated Chef’n’s motion for a preliminary injunction.
Judge Terrence McVerry of the Western District of Pennsylvania issued an order granting summary judgment of patent invalidity in favor of Finnegan client SinterFire Corporation. In the case, Delta Frangible Ammunition, LLC accused SinterFire of infringing a patent for a frangible bullet and a method of making it. SinterFire requested reexamination of the Delta patent, and the claims asserted against SinterFire were finally rejected in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.  SinterFire had attempted to stay the litigation pending the results of the reexamination, but the District Court denied SinterFire’s motion for a stay. 
The Washington University in St. Louis (WashU) filed a suit in the District of Delaware alleging that Finnegan client Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) had breached an inter-institutional agreement between the two parties, which pertained to a jointly owned pharmaceutical method of use patent for the treatment of renal osteodystrophy. Because the inter-institutional agreement between WashU and WARF was executed in 1995 and the patent was licensed to Abbott in 1998, Finnegan moved for summary judgment and dismissal on the grounds that WashU’s contract claims were barred by the applicable statues of limitations. The presiding judge dismissed the case, finding no evidence of inequitable, unfair, or misleading conduct on the part of WARF in its interactions with WashU, and that all claims were time-barred by the applicable statutes of limitations.
We defended TEAC in an ITC case brought by Tandon Industries involving the head assemblies in floppy disk drives. While a temporary exclusion order was granted against all respondents, we later established that TEAC's head assemblies were not covered by the patent. The matter was favorably settled on behalf of TEAC before the hearing on permanent relief, and the noninfringement position we devised was successfully asserted by the remaining respondent. That noninfringement defense was adopted by the judge, the full ITC, and ultimately, the Federal Circuit.
Finnegan client CRS Advanced Technologies achieved a complete win in the second decision related to covered business method (CBM) patents issued by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The Board cancelled every claim that had been pending in a related district court infringement litigation. In the CBM, Finnegan challenged the patent as not meeting the requirements of 35 U.S.C. § 101 and presented arguments in favor of claim cancellation, in what was the second such CBM hearing before the PTAB. The decision capped a decade of litigation for CRS. Frontline Technologies, Inc. initially sued CRS for patent infringement on one patent, which ultimately settled with CRS taking a patent license that Finnegan had negotiated with Frontline. Frontline later terminated the license and sued CRS a second time. The district court subsequently stayed the case pending a reexamination proceeding instituted by the USPTO on a petition filed by Finnegan on CRS's behalf, from which the patent emerged, heavily amended, two years later. Meanwhile, another Frontline patent issued and was asserted against CRS but, after a third party requested reexamination of that patent, Frontline granted CRS a covenant against suit and dropped that second patent from the litigation. The case continued for three more years on the reexamined patent, allowing Finnegan to file a CBM petition on the first day that procedure became available. The PTAB granted the petition, and a month later the district court again stayed the case, which was then in the final stages of pre-trial submissions. The Board agreed with CRS that the claims were unpatentable, and the related district court proceeding has since been dismissed with prejudice with the consent of the parties.
We successfully defended VeriSign, Inc. in a lawsuit brought by Leon Stambler. The suit alleged infringement of three patents asserted against the Internet security protocol known as SSL and against VeriSign’s digital certificates and payment gateway technology. Stambler was seeking damages and an injunction, claiming that every Internet communication secured using the industry standard SSL protocol infringed his patents. We obtained a summary judgment on one patent, and the jury returned a verdict of no infringement of two of the Stambler patents.
After Harmonix was sued by Princeton Digital Image Corp. in D. Delaware, Finnegan filed a request for inter partes review (IPR) on behalf of Harmonix against all asserted claims. Shortly after filing, Finnegan obtained a rare pre-institution stay of the litigation for Harmonix and other defendants sued over the same patent, avoiding potentially substantial discovery costs. The PTAB issued its final written decision finding four patent claims unpatentable on both proposed § 102 grounds.
This ANDA case involved Zenith and two other generic drug manufacturers that attempted to invalidate Lilly's patent and thereby open the market for generic sales. The lengthy trial involved complex technical and legal issues. Lilly prevailed in the district court on all issues, protecting its exclusive marketing rights and a large revenue stream. The Federal Circuit later affirmed the lower court’s decision, which upheld Lilly's patent on its blockbuster drug.