We will be discussing one patent case and one copyright case in our weekly SoCal IP Institute meeting on Monday, October 17, 2011. Brief synopses are presented below.
Robert Bosch LLC v. Pylon Mfg. Corp., Case No. 2011-1096 (Fed Cir. Oct. 13, 2011) (attached). The Federal Circuit addresses the circumstances under which an injunction should be granted in patent cases in a post-eBay world. After a jury found two Bosch wiper-blade patents valid and infringed by Pylon, Bosch moved for a permanent injunction. The court denied Bosch’s request finding that Bosch failed to show irreparable harm.
On appeal, the Federal Circuit confirmed that the eBay factors must be considered in the determination of whether to grant an injunction the patent context. The Federal Circuit pointed out that the lower court had found the presence of other infringers and the “non-core” business of Bosch as factors weighing against the grant of an injunction. This was legal error.
However, most importantly, the Federal Circuit found clear error in the lower court’s failure to find irreparable harm. In particular, the Federal Circuit urged the court to consider the fundamental nature of patent rights when making an irreparable harm determination. From the facts available, the appeals court found that there was clearly irreparable harm to Bosch. The case was reversed and remanded for entry of Bosch’s requested permanent injunction.
Airframe Sys. Inc. v. L-3 Comm. Corp., Nos. 10-2001; 11-1169 (1st Cir. Sept. 14, 2011 (attached). Airframe sued L-3 for copyright infringement when it discovered, after years of licensing its ARMS software to L-3, that an L-3 engineer had obtained and altered an older version of the ARMS software for use with newer computers. In particular, the engineer updated the software (originally created in 1981 and last updated in 1984) to be written in PHP. Airframe sued based upon the licensed 1984 source code. However, the only evidence in the record as to the substance of that source code was a later updated 2009 version of the software. The court found that the comparison was inadequate to establish the contents of the 1984 source code and, thus, any comparison with the L-3 software was irrelevant, absent some basis of reference. Accordingly L-3’s grant of summary judgment at the district court level was affirmed.
Second, L-3 cross-appealed the district court’s denial of its motion for attorney’s fees. L-3 contended that the district court failed to adequately consider 1st Circuit precedent that allowed for an award of attorney’s fees for cases that are “objectively, quite weak.” The 1st Circuit evaluated the lower court’s order and determined that it had adequately considered the relevant Supreme Court precedent and, therefore, affirmed the denial of an award of attorney’s fees.
All are invited to join us in our discussion during the SoCal IP Institute meeting on Monday, October 17, 2011 at Noon in our Westlake Village office. This activity is approved for 1 hour of MCLE credit. If you will be joining us, please RSVP to Amanda Jones by 9 am Monday morning.