Friday, April 24, 2015

Info-Hold scores partial victory over Muzak at CAFC

In the case, Info-Hold, Inc., the owner of U.S. Patent No. 5,991,374,
was the appellant against Muzak the defendant.

The outcome of the case:

Following claim construction, the district court grant-
ed summary judgment to Muzak that, notwithstanding
infringement, Info-Hold was not entitled to reasonable
royalty damages, and that Muzak did not induce in-
fringement of the ’374 patent.
For the reasons set forth below, we reverse
the grant of summary judgment of no damages for infringement, we
vacate the summary judgment of no induced infringement, and
we affirm the district court’s construction of the sole cla
im term in dispute.

In terms of history

In 2006, Info-Hold contacted Muzak on at least two
occasions regarding the possibility that Muzak’s products
infringe the ’374 patent.
On February 21, 2006, Info-Hold’s in-house counsel,
Daniel Wood, sent a letter to
Muzak’s General Counsel, Michael Zendan,
drawing attention to the ’374 patent and
asking whether any of
Muzak’s products might practice the patented technology.
Mr. Wood specifically requested to be informed
of the results of any
“detailed analysis of the ’374 patent”
already conducted by Muzak.
Mr. Wood also requested that Muzak
conduct such an analysis.
J.A. 2890. Muzak did not respond to Info-Hold’s letter.

Info-Hold filed suit in May 2011, alleging
that Muzak infringed the ’374 patent through the manufacture and
sale of Muzak’s Encompass LE 2 and Encompass MV

As to damages, the CAFC observed:

In light of the foregoing, we reverse
the district court’s grant of summary judgment because there was no evi-
dence of record supporting a zero royalty and the evidence
of record which could be used to determine a non-zero
royalty was ignored.
We further remand the case to the
district court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion

The topic of "willful blindness" arose:

This record raises issues
of material fact as to wheth-
er Muzak may have subjectively believed there was a high
probability it infringed the ’374 patent and took deliberate
actions to avoid learning whether it actually did. In other
words, the record raises the issue of whether
Muzak willfully blinded itself to
whether it acted to induce in-
fringement after becoming aware of the existence and
alleged functionality of the ’374 patent.
See Global-Tech, 131 S. Ct. at 2070.
Therefore, we vacate
the district court’s grant of
summary judgment of no induced infringement and
remand for further consideration on the issue of Muzak’s
willful blindness

Teva v. Sandoz is cited:

Our review of a district court’s claim construction
based solely on the patent’s intrinsic record is de novo.
Teva Pharm. USA, Inc. v. Sandoz, Inc.,
135 S. Ct. 831, 841 (2015).
The words of a claim are
generally given their
ordinary and customary meaning, as understood by one of
ordinary skill in the art reading the claims in the context
of the specification and prosecution history.
Thorner v. Sony Computer Entm’t
Am. LLC, 669 F.3d 1362, 1365
(Fed. Cir. 2012).“
Claims must be interpreted with an eye
toward giving effect to all terms in the claim.”



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