Friday, September 25, 2009

Customer printing a secured document (such as a stamp or an airline ticket)

A note to Quillen and Webster from the CAFC in KARA TECHNOLOGY v. STAMPS.COM :

The claims, not specification embodiments, define the scope of patent protection.
The patentee is entitled to the full scope of his claims, and we will not limit him to his
preferred embodiment or import a limitation from the specification into the claims. See Phillips, 415 F.3d at 1323.

On NDA's:

The district court granted summary judgment dismissing Kara’s claim for breach
of the NDA after concluding that the claim was barred by the four-year statute of
limitations under the applicable state law and, as an alternative grounds for dismissal,
that the NDA did not protect Kara’s trade secrets because Kara had publicly disclosed
them. Kara alleges two separate breaches of the NDA. The first is based on’s admitted note-taking during a May 15, 2000 business meeting, in
violation of Paragraph 5 of the NDA. The second is based on’s alleged
use of Kara’s confidential information to develop’s PC-based postage
products, in violation of Paragraph 3 of the NDA. The district court focused solely on
the note-taking and subsequent failure of to destroy the notes, stating that
the October 2004 complaint clearly fell outside the four-year statute of limitations and
thus there was no issue of material fact as to the breach of contract claim.

As stated above, Kara alleges two separate breaches of the NDA. The first
occurred when at least two employees took notes at a meeting between
the parties on May 15, 2000. There is no real dispute that Kara knew or should have
known of this breach at the time it occurred, as the meeting was attended by several of
Kara’s employees, including its President and Chief Operating Officer. Kara did not file
its complaint until October 22, 2004, and therefore any claim based on this breach is
barred by Texas’s four-year statute of limitations. While we agree with the district court
that this note-taking breach is barred by the statute of limitations, Kara alleged a second
breach that was not addressed in the district court’s summary judgment order—that misused the information it learned at the May 15, 2000 meeting to develop
its PC-based postage products, which allowed consumers to print stamps from home.


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