11th Circuit Finds That University Can Be Subjected to Injunction to Prevent Continuing Infringement

In National Association of Boards of Pharmacy v. Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, 97 U.S.P.Q.2D 1931 (11th Cir. 2011), the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (hereinafter “NABP”) owns copyrighted tests which it uses to accredit pharmacists.  Professor Flynn Warren of the University of Georgia offered a review course for these tests, and used actual questions from the tests in his review course.  After receiving a tip, the NABP confirmed that Professor Warren was using the actual copyrighted questions, after which Professor Warren and the University of Georgia agreed to cease and desist using the copyrighted questions.  Subsequently, NABP again determined that Professor Warren was again gathering copyrighted test questions for use in his course in violation of agreement previously reached.  To confirm their suspicions, the NABP purchased a copy of Professor Warren’s course materials for $100, and after confirming that 150 questions were copied from the NABP test, the NABP was forced to replace the

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Federal Circuit Finds Declaratory Judgment Not Available Against Field of Use Licensee Where Patent Owner Could Not Be Joined

In A123 Systems, Inc. v. Hydro-Quebec, 626 F.3d 1213 (Fed. Cir. 2010), Hydro-Quebec (HQ) is a licensee of U.S. Patent Nos. 5,910,382 and 6,514,640, which are owned by the Board of Regents for the University of Texas System (UT).  The license gives HQ an exclusive license within a specified field of use.  HQ had threatened suit against A123 for infringement of these patents, whereby A123 filed a Declaratory Judgment against HQ in the District of Massachusetts claiming non-infringement on August 14, 2006.  HQ moved to dismiss alleging that UT was a necessary party and could not be joined due to Eleventh Amendment immunity, and filed its own suit with UT in the Northern District of Texas.  A123 further filed a reexamination request for the patents, which resulted in the Texas action being stayed and the Massachusetts was dismissed without prejudice while the reexamination continued.  On conclusion of the reexamination, A123 motioned to reopen the Massachusetts action, which HQ opposed on

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Northern District of Illinois Finds That Declaratory Judgment Action Available Against Private Sector Owner of Patent Owned in Common with Government

In Sourceone Global Partners LLC. V. KGK Synergize, Inc., Civ. Case No. 08 C 7403 (N.D. Il. May 13, 2009), KGK Synergize (“KGK) is an assignee of U.S. Patent No. 6,987,125 (the ‘125 patent), which generally relates to a nutritional supplement for lowering cholesterol.  The ‘125 patent was invented by Najla Guthrie, Elzbieta Kurowska, John Manthey, and Robert Horowitz pursuant to a partnership between the Department of Agriculture and KGK.  Pursuant to the partnership agreement, Mr. Mathaney and Mr. Horowtiz assigned their rights to the Federal Government, and Ms. Guthrie and Ms. Kurowska assigned their rights to the KGK.  KGK later exclusively licensed their interest in the ‘125 patent to Sourceone Global Partners (Sourceone) for the purpose of making and selling Sytrinol.  The Government is not a signatory to this license. Subsequently, Sourceone developed on its own Cholesstrinol, which Sourceone believed did not infringe the ‘125 patent and therefore was not subject to the royalty provisions of the license.  KGK

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Court of Federal Claims Indicates Contractor Liable Where Government is Immune

Federal Claims Allows Transfer To Allow Patent Infringement Suit Against Contractor Where Government Immune from Infringement In Zoltek Corp. v. United States, No. 96-166 C (Fed.Cl. Jan. 23, 2009), Zoltek Corporation owns Patent No. Re. 34,162 (“the ‘162 patent).  Originally, Zoltek asserted the ‘162 patent against the Federal Government under 28 U.S.C. § 1498(a).  28 U.S.C. §1498(a) sets forth a remedy for patentees whose patents are “used or manufactured” by government contractors acting with the “authorization or consent” of the Government. Zoltek has alleged that the Government caused the manufacture of carbon fiber products according to processes covered by the ‘162 patent and that these products were incorporated into Lockheed Martin Corporation’s F-22 Fighter Planes.  In 2001, the Government moved for partial summary judgment, raising 28 U.S.C. § 1498(c) as an affirmative defense to liability under 28 U.S.C. § 1498(a).  Specifically, the Government asserted that 28 U.S.C. §1498(c) provides that “[t]he provisions of this section shall not apply to any

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Federal Circuit Finds No Waiver of Sovereign Immunity under DMCA

In Blueport Co. v. United States, 533 F.3d 1374, 87 USPQ2d 1512 (Fed. Cir. 2008), Mark Davenport, a Technical Sergeant with the Air Force, worked with the Air Force’s Manpower Data System (MDS).  Through working with the MDS, Davenport concluded that the software used to run the MDS program was inefficient and began to seek ways of improving the software.  Davenport sought training in computer programming from the Air Force, but was denied.  As such, Davenport learned how to program on his own time, and subsequently wrote a new program called “the AUMD” program, also on his own time at his home. Davenport used the AUMD program at work and began sharing it with coworkers.  Based on his experiences using the AUMD program at work, Davenport made changes from time to time to improve the program.  At no time did Davenport bring the source code to work or copy it onto Air Force computers. The AUMD program began to catch

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Federal Circuit Finds Patent Enforcement By A University Against Customers Insufficient to Waive Sovereign Immunity To Allow the Supplier To File An Independent Action Against University

  In Tegic Communications v. Bd. of Regents of the Univ. of Texas System, 458 F.3d 1335 (Fed. Cir. 2006), Tegic Communications filed a declaratory judgment in the Western District of Washington against the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System (“the University”) due to the University’s enforcement of U.S. Patent No. 4,674,112 in the Western District of Texas against 48 cellular-telephone companies.  Tegic Communications alleged that, since it supplied allegedly infringing software to 39 of 48 these companies, Tegic Communications was under a reasonable apprehension of suit.  Relying on Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Education Expense Board v. College Savings Bank, 527 US 627, 51 USPQ2d 1081 (1999), the District Court dismissed the complaint as the University was immune under the Eleventh Amendment from patent infringement claims and had not waived its sovereign immunity for such claims by bringing suit against the 39 companies.   The Federal Circuit affirmed the District Court’s dismissal.