Friday, July 25, 2014

Appeal Court Favors Overstock in IP Phone Suit

Case Filed: Nov 01, 2013

Case Closed: Jul 11, 2014

Origin Case: 3:12-cv-00636

Case Summary:
Texas-based, H-W Technology LC sued alleging that the online retailer’s smartphone application infringed claims 9 and 17 of US7525955. The claims relate to a method of performing contextual searches on an Internet Protocol (IP) phone. The complaint was originally filed in Texas District Court in Mar 2012. District court entered judgment favoring Overstock and declared invalidity of claims 9 and 17 to which H-W Technology filed an appeal. However, appeal court affirmed the judgment.

The patent at issue was: US7525955 entitled ‘Internet protocol (IP) phone with search and advertising capability,’ issued on Apr 28, 2009 and expiring[i] by Mar 17, 2025. H-W Technology is the current assignee[ii] of the patent (source: MaxVal’s Assignment Database). The ‘955 patent describes an IP phone with search and advertising capability that includes a platform adaptable to be used with different applications running on the IP phone as well as with different communication infrastructures.

As in Complaint:
Overstock was accused of infringing the ‘955 patent by making, using, importing, selling or offering to sell a multi-convergence device having domain specific applications that allow users to complete a transaction without the need to generate a voice call. The complaint cited Overstock smartphone as the infringing product.

District Court Judgment:
In Jan 2013, Overstock moved for summary judgment of invalidity of claims. Briefly after claim construction, court opinioned claims 9 and 17 were indefinite and ordered dismissal with prejudice and accordingly, in Oct 2013, the judgment was rendered.

Appeal Court Judgment:
H-W appealed concerning the order of district court granting summary judgment in favor of Overstock. Specifically, H-W challenged the district court’s declaring claims 9 and 17 of the ‘955 patent invalid. Appeal court after hearing the case, affirmed the district court’s judgment declaring claim 17 as invalid and claim 9 (corrected or uncorrected version) as not assertable in the lawsuit. However, it stated that claim 9 (corrected) is not a subject of litigation and therefore is not invalid.

See 2014-1054 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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