Judge Sorokin denied Ethicon’s motion to strike portions of the trial testimony of Covidien’s technical expert that three prior art references did not render the asserted ‘310 patent invalid. While the expert offered arguments that had not previously been disclosed, Judge Sorokin noted that Covidien’s expert had been deposed prior to Ethicon’s, and that Covidien’s expert had therefore not had the opportunity to rebut the theories put forth by Ethicon’s expert, at least some of which came forth in deposition but were not present in the expert report. Noting that Ethicon had not alleged prejudice, the testimony was allowed to stand.
California company EcoFactor, a provider of smart home energy products and services, brought several suits in Massachusetts, accusing a number of businesses of infringing patents relating to evaluating and improving efficiency in HVAC systems and to smart thermostats. These suits follow an October ITC complaint seeking to block importation of products accused of infringing these same patents. The cases are presently spread between Judges Saylor, Sorokin, and Bowler.
iRobot accuses SharkNinja of infringing six iRobot patents relating to robotic vacuum cleaners by sales of SharkNinja’s IQ Robot line of products. iRobot asserts that these patents cover features such as robotically mapping a user’s home to permit scheduling of cleaning of different rooms at different times, automatically returning to its base to recharge when the battery runs low, and automatically emptying itself into the base, which can store multiple bins worth of debris. These features are said to be incorporated in iRobot’s Roomba i7+ vacuum. iRobot notes that SharkNinja specifically touts these patented features, claiming in advertising that the Shark IQ Robot offers the same technology at “half the price of iRobot i7+.” iRobot seeks preliminary and permanent injunctive relief and a finding of willfulness. Judge Burroughs has the case.
Judge Saylor overruled Palomar’s objections to the Magistrate Judge Bowler’s order partially granting MRSI’s motion to compel, finding that her ruling was not clearly erroneous nor contrary to law. The discovery dispute surrounded the selection of search terms to search e-mail, that Palomar contended were over-broad and would result in a significant number of documents not related to the litigation and would result in the production sensitive personal information, in violation of the California state constitution. Judge Saylor found no reason that the constitution of the state should impact discovery in a federal case and based on federal, not California, law, and further determined that the argument was waived as not having been raised in the written responses to the discovery requests. Judge Saylor did, however, permit Palomar to submit for in camera review any specific documents for which it contends that the laws of California should control discovery (despite the case arising under federal patent law) and that the privacy concern was not waived.
Ohio State Innovation Foundation, which holds title to intellectual property developed by and for The Ohio State University, brought suit against Akamai, accusing the company of infringing U.S. Patent No. 9,531,522, which covers systems and methods for proactive resource allocation by which an algorithm monitors mobile user device history to automatically provide information that any particular user repeatedly requests during off-peak hours. Dr. El Gamal, the lead inventor and OSU professor, approached Akamai in 2013 about licensing the patent. Dr. El Gamal’s company, Inmobly, Inc., executed an NDA with Akamai and provided demonstration software. Akamai ultimately turned down the license, and subsequently filed its own patent application on similar technology. OSU filed suit when Akamai released its version.
Akamai moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), asserting that OSU did not (and could not) make a plausible assertion that Akamai’s software involves the machine learning required by the claims of the ‘522 patent. Judge Burroughs disagreed, however, finding Akamai’s own publications describing its software map out to the ‘522 specification and identify “machine-learning-based algorithms,” and that therefore the complaint states a legally sufficient claim of patent infringement. Accordingly, she denied Akamai’s motion.
At the request of the parties, Judge Talwani reversed her prior decision and entered partial final judgment that U.S. Patent Nos. 7,212,850 and 7,907,996 are invalid for failing to claim patentable subject matter. By such order, CardioNet will be able to immediately appeal this finding.
Judge Sorokin denied Covidien’s emergency motion to continue the bench trial date, currently scheduled to begin on September 23, concerning Ethicon’s seeking of a declaration that its Enseal® X1 surgical tool does not infringe several Covidien patents. Covidien sought the continuance because its technical expert had undergone an unexpected heart surgery; Ethicon opposed on the grounds that he was but one of a dozen experts, that the ailing expert was to testify only as to a single issue, and that all of the witnesses had made travel and work arrangements to be in Boston for the trial. Judge Sorokin apparently agreed with Ethicon; rather than move the trial entirely, he ordered that it go forward with Covidien permitted to submit the expert’s report and a proffer of his expected testimony. Once the expert has recovered, Judge Sorokin will take his testimony and consider whether any further testimony from any party is thereby necessitated.