A blog about patent, copyright and trademark law in the U.S. District Court
for the Southern District of New York

Court Grants Summary Judgment of Patent Non-Infringement and Denies Invalidity Motion as Moot

In an August 29, 2013 ruling, Judge P. Kevin Castel granted the motion of Google, Inc. and Facebook, Inc. for summary judgment of non-infringement, and denied their motions for summary judgment of invalidity.  The patents-in-suit "disclose methods and systems which allow users without web programming skills to create mobile websites with personally-authored content for display on mobile devices."  The plaintiff, Wireless Ink Corporation, sued for patent infringement over the Google and Facebook websites, alleging literal infringement and infringement under the doctrine of equivalents. 

With regard to literal infringement, the Court noted that it "requires that every limitation recited in the asserted claim appear in the accused device or method. . . . Therefore, if even one limitation is not present in the accused product, there is no literal infringement."  Judge Castel then reviewed the evidence of infringement proffered by Wireless Ink in response to the summary judgment motions, and concluded that Wireless Ink had failed to come forward with evidence from which a reasonable fact-finder could find that all the claim limitations in the asserted claims in the patents-in-suit are present in the Google and Facebook websites.  In response to several of Wireless Ink's infringement arguments, the Court noted that Wireless Ink did not dispute the facts proffered by defendants but merely argued claim interpretation and ruled that where "'as here, the parties do not dispute any relevant facts regarding the accused product but disagree over which of two possible meanings of Claim 1 is the proper one, the question of literal infringement collapses to one of claim construction ans id thus amenable to summary judgment.'"  The Court adhered to its original claim construction ruling, and granted judgment in favor of Google and Facebook.  Judge Castel also dismissed Wireless Ink's claims under the doctrine of equivalents, writing that Wireless Ink conceded that it had "offered no evidence to support a theory of infringement under the doctrine of equivalents."

The Court, however, denied summary judgment of invalidity, ruling that "where, as here, the issue of validity is raised solely as an affirmative defense, rather than as a counterclaim for declaratory judgment, a district court's resolution of the invalidity issue after a finding of non-infringement constitutes unnecessary dicta, if not, in certain circumstances, reversible error."  The Court exercised its discretion and denied the motions as moot.
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