Music licensing entity BMI sued Sterling, MA’s Black Sheep Tavern in the Worcester Division of the District of Massachusetts, accusing Black Sheep of infringing a number of music copyrights though live and DJ performances that take place at the Tavern. BMI asserts that it contacted Black Sheep Tavern over 80 times seeking to have the Tavern take a license prior to filing suit. BMI seeks statutory damages and attorneys’ fees as well as injunctive relief.
Globys sued Sorriso, asserting that Sorriso’s Smart Suite infringes a pair of patents relating to computer-implemented digital invoicing. A review of the exemplary claims in the complaint suggests that the patents may have an Alice eligibility problem; claim 1 of U.S. 7,996,310, the first of the asserted patents, essentially recites a “computer-implemented method” comprising receiving billing information that includes a plurality of individual transactions; receiving selection of parameters for customizing an analysis of the billing information; analyzing the billing information using the parameters provided; and producing a report. The exemplary ”computing system” claim 1 of the second patent, a continuation of the ‘310 patent, includes no meaningful technical limitations, reciting an “analysis engine” and “user interface” as the sole components and describing the system in functional terms. The patent was filed in 2000 and issued in 2011, several years before the Supreme Court’s June 19, 2014 Alice decision on patent eligibility. While the second patent, U.S. 8,930,252, issued in January 2015, prosecution closed and a notice of allowance was sent in April 2014, again prior to the Alice decision.
Closing out this dispute, at least at the District Court, Final Judgement was entered awarding SiOnyx:
- $1,377,109 in contractual and unjust enrichment damages plus $1,752,017 in pre-judgment interest for a total of $3,129,126;
- post-judgment interest at 2.4% pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1961, with an accounting of post-verdict sales to occur;
- judgment that the ‘467 patent was willfully infringed;
- addition of Dr. James Carey as co-inventor of the ‘467 patent;
- ownership of nine U.S. patents; and
- a permanent injunction barring infringement of all ten patents by Hamamatsu.
Let the appellate process begin…
When I discuss newly-filed complaints in this blog, I try to discuss the factual allegations and legal claims found in the complaint in a straight-forward manner, as they are presented by the plaintiff(s). It is important to recognize, however, that these are merely allegations – nothing at the time of filing has been tested or proven, and the defendant(s) have not yet responded. Nothing I discuss should be construed as accepting or agreeing with any pled facts or claims, or as an opinion as to the allegations (unless expressly set forth in a particular post).
I rarely post about answers or counterclaims at the time they are filed, primarily because the filing of answers is difficult to track. Further, many cases settle prior to an answer being filed, and more without any significant action from the court. Settlements are frequently confidential, and in any event are rarely filed with the court, so the outcome of many cases remains unknown.
In light of all of this, I ask everyone to remember that a complaint is just that – a one-sided presentation of an event, shaded to favor the complaining party, that may or may not turn out to be true. Today’s earlier post on Sobol v. Canavan serves as a good example of this.
Nuance, a designer of automated speech recognition (ASR) and transcription technologies, accuses Greek company Omilia of infringing eight patents related to ASR and conversational interactive voice response systems. Nuance states that Omilia was a licensee of the technology for use outside of the United States, but continued using the technology when the license terminated, subsequently expanding into the U.S. Nuance further alleges that Omilia was put on specific notice of the patents-in-suit by letter of October 8, 2018, but has refused to substantively respond or cease its activity.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island today announced a training program on opening statements and closing arguments. The session will run from May 20th through the 24th at the federal courthouse in Providence, and will provide CLE credits for those of you in states requiring them. These sessions tend to fill up quickly, so anyone interested should sign up here.
The jury reached a verdict in this case involving claims of breach of license and trade secret misappropriation case, finding that Rust-Oleum continued using Deetz’s know-how relating to magnetic paints and awarding $40,726.13 in lost royalties. The jury declined to award lost profits.