Sophos Inc. v. RPost Holdings, Inc. et al. (13-cv-12856).

Sophos brought suit in 2013, seeking summary judgment that it did not infringe certain of RPost’s patents and that the patents were invalid. Only one patent remained in issue following last year’s claim construction decision in the case, U.S. 8,504,628.  The ‘628 patent covers third party verification of the content and delivery of electronic messages.  Following a hearing on December 7th, Judge Casper issued a decision on the 8th, finding the asserted claims invalid.  Sophos challenged the standing of RPost to pursue infringement claims because co-defendant RPost Communications Ltd. (RComm), RPost’s parent corporation, is the patent owner and no written license between RComm and RPost was produced and RComm’s corporate designee was unable to say with any certainty that RComm directly sold any software services in the United States.  Judge Caper denied the motion on standing, finding that the corporate designee’s deposition testimony that RPost was an exclusive licensee must be credited at the summary judgment stage, thus creating an issue of material fact.  As to validity, Sophos had asserted that the earliest priority date for the ‘628 patent was July 27, 2000, based on responses of RPost and RComm to an interrogatory.  While not finding RPost and RComm estopped from asserting a priority date back to 1999, based on provisional applications, she determined that Sophos’ argument had “introduced sufficient evidence” to put anticipation at issue, at which point the defendants had the burden of coming forward with evidence and argument to the contrary.  Because the defendants had put nothing in the record to show that the claims were entitled to rely on the provisional applications for priority, the July 2000 date was deemed to be the priority date.  The claims were then found to be anticipated by two patents that predated the July 2000 date but fell after the provisional filings.

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