Thursday, April 14, 2005

Alacritech gets injunction against Microsoft (Longhorn affected?)

In Alacritech v Microsoft, Alacritech won a prelimary injunction against Microsoft. See C 04 - 03284 JSW (ND Cal) by Jeffrey S. White, April 12, 2005.

Within the decision, the district court does cite to v., 239 F.3d 1343, 1350-51 (CAFC 2001) for the proposition that Microsoft, to defeat Alacritech's motion for injunction, merely needed to demonstrate a substantial question concerning either infringement or validity. A reply declaration by Dr. Kevin Almeroth, on behalf of Alacritech, was used to establish that none of Microsoft's cited prior art disclosed transferring a TCP connection, an element of claim 1 of US 6,987,868. Separately, the district court looked to the failure of others to develop the invention and evidence of appreciation by contemporaries to negate an obviousness attack. [note: one first looks to the prima facie case of obviousness (similarity and motivation) and only after evaluating the prima facie case does one look to secondary considerations, so the court's treatment is a bit abbreviated.]

Microsoft also attempted an ineligible subject matter attack under 35 USC 101. It apparently relied upon MPEP 2106 (IV)(B).

Microsoft also attempted an indefiniteness argument under 35 USC 112 P 2.

For the criteria for evaluating a preliminary injunction request, the district court cited to Polymer Technologies, 103 F.3d 970, 973 (CAFC 1996), not For burden of proof, the district court cited Nutrition 21 v. U.S., 930 F.2d 867, 869 (CAFC 1991).

There were 112 P 6 issues. The district court cited Envirco, 209 F.3d 1360 (CAFC 2000) and Lighting World, 382 F.3d 1354 (CAFC 2004).

from pcpro:

A judge has slapped an injunction on Microsoft to prevent it from using TCP technology slated for use in the next version of Windows, codenamed Longhorn, and in the Scalable Networking Pack for Windows Server 2003.
There are fears that the injunction may delay the release of Longhorn which is scheduled to appear next year.

In dispute is Microsoft's 'Chimney' TCP offload architecture which offloads the TCP protocol stack to a Network Interface Card to provide an improved network performance. US company Alacritech, which develops networking solutions, claims that 'Chimney' is based on Alacritech's SLIC Technology architecture based on two patents 6,427,171 and 6,987,868 relating to scalable networking called `Protocol Processing Stack for use with Intelligent Network Interface Device`.

Alacritech sued Microsoft in Federal District Court in August of last year. Now a US District Court has issued a temporary injunction preventing Microsoft from selling any product based on the Chimney technology.

Larry Boucher, president and CEO, Alacritech said, 'After Alacritech discovered that Microsoft Chimney is based on intellectual property that we developed, patented and own, we offered Microsoft a license. Microsoft rejected licensing terms that would be acceptable to us. We were forced to sue Microsoft to stop them from continuing to infringe, and inducing others to infringe, on our intellectual property rights. We are very pleased with the Court's decision in this matter.'

Alacritech, claims that it provided details of Dynamic TCP Offload architecture to Microsoft when the two companies met under a non-disclosure agreement in September 1998. Following the meeting, in 1999 Alacritech says it sent Microsoft a detailed document describing how its SLIC technology could work with Windows. Microsoft unveiled Chimney in 2003.

from channel register

Silicon Valley start-up Alacritech has won a preliminary injunction against Microsoft over the use of advanced networking technologies due to feature in Longhorn, the next version of Windows. The ruling, which is subject to appeal, temporarily blocks Microsoft from developing or selling systems based on the disputed technology.

Alacritech sued Microsoft in August 2004, alleging that Microsoft's existing and future operating systems containing the "Chimney" TCP offload architecture use Alacritech’s proprietary SLIC technology. The disputed code, designed to eliminate network processing bottlenecks, crops up in the Scalable Networking Pack for Windows Server 2003 as well as Longhorn. Alacritech argues that Microsoft's software violates two of its patents relating to scalable networking, US Patent No. 6,427,171 and US Patent No. 6,987,868, both entitled Protocol Processing Stack for use with Intelligent Network Interface Device.

A US District Court in San Francisco granted Alacritech's request for a preliminary injunction on April 5, 2005. Microsoft has 21 days to appeal.


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