Sunday, June 15, 2014

Court Issues Judgment Favoring Office Depot and Others

Case Filed: Jul 12, 2007

Case Closed: Jun 10, 2014

Court: California Northern District Court

Judge: Phyllis J. Hamilton

Case Summary:
California-based software company, SpeedTrack filed a patent infringement suit against Office Depot accusing that their patent covering method for accessing information in a data storage system was infringed. The other defendants named in the suit were: CDW Corp.,, Circuit City Stores, PC Connection and Comp USA.

The patent involved in this suit is: US5544360 entitled ‘Method for accessing computer files and data, using linked categories assigned to each data file record on entry of the data file record,’ issued on Aug 06, 1996 and expiring[i] by Feb 03, 2015. SpeedTrack is the current assignee[ii] of the patent (source: MaxVal’s Assignment Database.) The ‘360 patent relates to a flexible system for accessing computer files and data therein according to user-designated criteria.

As in Complaint:
SpeedTrack alleged that defendants infringe the ‘360 patent by advertising, selling, using and providing websites on the Internet, which permits users to search for products available for sale and that the defendants use ‘Endeca information Access Platform’ to provide this search functionality. The products cited were the defendants’ websites.

The complaint further added that the defendants have been made aware of the ‘360 patent and infringement allegations, thereby stating the infringement to be willful. SpeedTrack requested court to declare judgment in favor demanding costs, expenses and enhanced damages.

District Court Judgment:
According to court documents, SpeedTrack accused Wal-Mart (no. 4:06-cv-7336 ) of infringing the ‘360 patent alleging that Wal-Mart’s website allowed customers to search for products by selecting predefined product categories which used the Endeca technology (as claimed in this case). The court granted summary judgment of non-infringement to Wal-Mart. An appeal was filed, but the federal court affirmed the district court’s judgment favoring Wal-Mart.

In this case, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment as well as argued that the court has previously found that the accused Endeca technology did not infringe SpeedTrack’s patent.

After court’s findings defendant’s motion for summary judgment was granted with a judgment favoring the defendants.  In June 2014, defendants filed bill of costs itemizing expenses incurred, for which SpeedTrack will be liable if approved ($7775 estimated.)

Appeal Court Proceedings:
In May 2014, SpeedTrack filed an appeal (no. 2014-1475) challenging the district court’s judgment and the litigation is pending.

See 4:07-cv-03602 for more details. To get alerts on cases filed/closed, subscribe to our Litigation Alerts.

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[i] Expected expiration date. Patent Term Estimator is a free web-based tool that automatically calculates patent terms and expiration dates for U.S. utility patents.
[ii] MaxVal offers Patent Assignment Alert service where subscribers receive email alerts when assignments relating to target applications, patents or entities of interest are recorded.

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