Mitrend, a Marlborough company that provides software and services relating to datacenter infrastructure assessment and performance, accuses EMC and Dell of copyright infringement, violation of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, unjust enrichment, breach of contract, and unfair competition. Mitrend contends that EMC, a wholly-owned Dell subsidiary, began using Mitrend’s analysis service in 2006 under a master services agreement and a number of statements of work, using EMC software for data collection. Mitrend realized that the data collection process could be improved upon, and independently conceived of an automated and accelerated process for data collection that substantially reduced collection times. Mitrend contends that the new software was adopted throughout EMC and became the company’s primary data collection method. Mitrend’s relationship with EMC rapidly grew to several million dollars per year, and EMC did not develop its own competing software. Under the statement of work dealing with this, Mitrend’s software was deemed to remain Mitrend’s property, and all derivative works would belong to Mitrend. Further, a separate software license agreement prohibited reverse engineering of the software by EMC, as well as prohibiting removal of copyright notices. These terms were carried forward in a 2015 agreement between the businesses. In 2017, however, after EMC was acquired by Dell, EMC demanded changes to the license that would include transfer of ownership of the software IP to EMC/Dell. Mitrend refused, and provided notice of termination effective March 2, 2017, although at EMC’s request the parties subsequently agreed to extend the termination date to November 30, 2017. Shortly thereafter, EMC announced the launch of its own competing product. Mitrend contends that EMC sought the extension to develop and deploy its competing software, which it later discovered to be using the same scripts as the Mitrend product, which it alleges EMC copied. The case is assigned to Judge Talwani.
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.
CadioNet sought to sever the patents that were found to be directed to ineligible subject matter from the remainder of the case, which remains to go to trial, so that the ruling on the two patents could be immediately appealed. Judge Talwani determined that, given the posture of the case, Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b) should apply, rather than Rule 21 as had been argued by CardioNet. Noting the “long-settled and prudential policy against the scattershot disposition of litigation,” Judge Talwani determined that CardioNet’s decision to bring all four patent claims in a single action, “presumably based on its view that the claims are related and involve common sets of fact and law,” mitigate against entry of separate judgment on the two invalidated patents. She did note that CardioNet had a different pair of related patents that were invalidated on Alice grounds at the District Court level (also by Judge Talwani), and that she would likely have granted severance if CardioNet had sought it at the time the appeal on those patents was filed; but as the appeal in that case has been fully briefed, severing the claims in the current case would result in three different litigation tracks. Accordingly, CardioNet’s motion to sever was denied.
Holistic Technologies filed suit against Lumina Group, seeking a declaration that it does not infringe Lumina’s TENDLITE product trade dress. The TENDLITE is a therapy device that uses red light to treat skin conditions such as wrinkles, scars, and the like. Holistic markets its own red light therapy device, the Quantum Rejuvenation device.
In late July, Holistic received a cease-and-desist letter from Quantum, asserting trade dress infringement and asserting that Holistic had copied Lumina’s advertising and packaging. Holistic denies copying the advertising and packaging, and asserts that the product design is generic, has not acquired distinctiveness, and thus unprotectible. Holistic further alleges that Lumina had the Quantum Rejuvenation product removed from Amazon and Google by asserting infringement of Lumina’s trademark in bad faith – Holistic used the mark to reference the Lumina product in a comparative advertisement, which would not constitute infringement. Lumina further posted on Holistic’s Amazon page that Holistic was running inaccurate and illegal advertisements, and is alleged to have posted negative reviews of the Holistic product. Finally, Holistic asserts that Lumina falsely claims that the TENDLITE is patented. In addition to the declaratory judgment claim, Holistic brings affirmative claims of unfair competition, false patent marking and violation of 93A. Holistic seeks an award of Lumina’s profits for the unfair competition claim, as well as its damages and attorneys’ fees. Judge Talwani has the case.
Plano Texas entity Pinek, a patent holding company, sued Westford’s Visonic of infringing U.S. Patent No. 7,233,256, which is directed to systems and methods for receiving a signal to trigger a pyroelectric activation system. Pinek asserts that Visonic’s Long Range Pet Immune PIR Motion Detector infringes at least claim 1 of the ‘256 patent, and seeks monetary, but not injunctive, relief. Pinek filed eight additional cases alleging infringement of the ‘256 patent in the last three months, one of which appears to have settled. Judge Talwani has been assigned to the matter.
CardioNet and InfoBionic have been in litigation for several years on various patents and trade secret claims relating to cardiac monitoring devices – in one of these cases, Judge Talwani struck down CardioNet’s 7,941,207 patent as being directed to ineligible subject matter. In the present case, CardioNet seeks to sever two of the patents that were likewise deemed to cover non-patentable subject matter from the case to permit an immediate appeal of that finding. InfoBionic sought to file an exhibit (a letter from InfoBionic to CardioNet making clear that InfoBionic viewed the remaining infringement claims to lack a good-faith basis for assertion) to its opposition to the motion to sever under seal. The letter is asserted to contain sensitive information that was exchanged as a part of an on-going arbitration proceeding on a trade secret misappropriation claim between CardioNet and a former employee who is now working for InfoBionic. CardioNet did not oppose the motion to seal, but Judge Talwani denied the request without prejudice, noting the presumptive right of the public to have access to judicial documents and finding that InfoBionic had not met the burden of showing that impoundment would not violate this presumptive right. She gave InfoBionic the option of filing the letter on the public docket with sensitive material redacted, thus keeping the material out of the purview of the things she would consider in ruling on the motion, or providing further explanation as to why the sensitive material merited consideration of the court.
In my experience, both in managing this blog and in practice before her, Judge Talwani scrutinizes motions to seal documents with great care. Litigants must ensure that they provide appropriate and specific information as to the sensitive nature and the harm that would result from public disclosure when seeking to impound information that they ask the court to rely upon, even where the opposing party assents to impoundment.
Texas’ RICPI sued Simoco, a UK company, accusing Simoco of infringing its US 7,333,806 patent, titled “System and Method for Enabling Two-Way Radio Communications over a Computer Network.” RICPI asserts that Simoco’s XD Solutions digital two-way radio products infringe both system and method claims of the ‘806 patent both directly and through inducement. The case is assigned to Judge Talwani.