Recent patent infringement cases filed in the Eastern District of Texas

Marilyn Tennissen Jul. 22, 2009, 5:00pm

Marshall Division

July 17

  • Applica Consumer Products Inc. vs. Petco Animal Supplies Stores Inc.

    Plaintiff Applica is a Florida-based company that markets and distributes household products including products under licensed brand names Black & Decker and company-owned brand names like Littermaid.

    According to the complaint, Applica markets and distributes patented automatic self-cleaning cat litter box products and accessories under the Littermaid mark.

    "Applica has made and continues to make substantial investments in its Littermaid product business to make its products the products of choice among America's cat owners," the plaintiff's original complaint states. "Applica's Littermaid litter box products promote a healthy and safe environment for cats, and provide a convenient and easy to use litter box solution for America's cat owners."

    The suit states that U.S. Patent Re. 36,847 for an Automated Self-Cleaning Litter Box for Cats was issued Sept. 5, 2000, to Waters Research Co. According to complaint, Applica is the exclusive licensee of the '847 Patent.

    Applica claims that Petco Stores and its wholly-owned subsidiary Petco Southwest import and sell various pet products under the brand names "ScoopFree" and "SmartScoop" including automatic self-cleaning cat litter boxes which infringe the '847 Patent.

    Applica states that on March 8, 2007, it filed Civil Action No. 2:07-cv-73 in the Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas. The suit named the manufacturer of the "ScoopFree" products, Lucky Litter LLC, as a defendant and alleged infringement of the '847 Patent.

    On Dec. 28, 2007, the U.S. International Trade Commission began an investigation to determine if the ScoopFree and "SmartScoop" products infringe the '847 Patent. A year later, the administrative law judge determined that the products did directly infringe the '847 Patent.

    "On or about May 12, 2009, Petco was made aware of the Commission's Final Determination that the 'ScoopFree' and 'SmartScoop' products infringe the '847 Patent," the plaintiff claims.

    Applica alleges the defendant continues to sell the infringing products, making the infringement willful and deliberate.

    In addition, Petco has committed further acts of inducement and contributory infringement.

    Applica is seeking a temporary restraining order, compensation no less than a reasonably royalty, interest, increased damages, attorneys' fees, costs, a permanent injunction and other just and proper relief.

    Bruce W. Slayden II of King & Spalding LLP in Austin is representing the plaintiff, along with attorneys from Capshaw & DeRieux LLP in Longview.

    The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge T. John Ward and referred to Magistrate Judge Charles Everingham for pre-trial proceedings.

    Case No. 2:09-cv-222-TJW-CE

    July 20

  • BTG International Inc. vs. Apple Inc. et al

    Plaintiff BTG claims to own the rights to five patents for an Electronically Alterable Non-Volatile Memory with N-Bits Per Memory Cell.

    The patents-in-suit are:

    -U.S. Patent No. 5,394,362 issued Feb. 28, 1995
    -U.S. Patent No. 5,764,571 issued June 9, 1998
    -U.S. Patent No. 5,872,735 issued Feb. 16, 1999
    -U.S. Patent No. 6,104,640 issued Aug. 15, 2000
    -U.S. Patent No. 6,188,692 issued Sept. 12, 2000

    BTG alleges that defendants Apple, Asus Computer, Asustek Computer, Dell, Lenovo, PNY Technologies, Sony and Transcend Information infringe the patents-in-suit through products that contain Multi-Level Cell NAND flash memory chips manufactured by Samsung.

    Allegedly infringing products include the iPod, iPhone, MacBook Air, Dell D630 Laptop, ThinkPad Laptop, Cyber-Shot digital cameras and various flash memory sticks and cards.

    BTG also claims the defendants have knowledge of the patents but have not ceased their infringing activities.

    The plaintiff is seeking compensatory damages, treble damages for willful infringement, interest, attorneys' fees, costs, injunctive relief and other relief deemed just and equitable.

    Mike McKool Jr. of McKool Smith PC in Dallas is attorney-in-charge for the plaintiff.

    The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge T. John Ward and referred to Magistrate Judge Charles Everingham for pre-trial proceedings.

    Case No. 2:09-cv-223-TJW-CE

    Tyler Division

    July 21

  • ColorQuick LLC vs. VistaPrint Ltd and OfficeMax Inc.

    Plaintiff ColorQuick claims to own the rights to U.S. Patent No. 6,839,149 issued Jan. 4, 2005. The '149 Patent describes methods and apparatuses for preparation of production data for a print job using a still image proxy of a page description language image file.

    ColorQuick alleges that defendants VistaPrint is infringing the '149 Patent through digital print services offered through its Web site. OfficeMax infringes the '149 Patent, the plaintiff claims, through its ImPress digital print services.

    As a direct and proximate result of defendants' acts of patent infringement, ColorQuick claims it has been injured and sustained substantial damages in an amount not presently known, the complaint claims.

    The plaintiff claims it has no adequate remedy at law unless the defendants are permanently enjoined by their unlawful infringement.

    ColorQuick is seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction against defendants, compensatory damages, interest and other relief deemed just and proper.

    Michael W. Shore of Shore Chan Bragalone LLP in Dallas is attorney-in-charge for the plaintiff.

    The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Leonard E. Davis.

    Case No. 6:09-cv-323-LED

  • The PACid Group LLC vs. Cisco Systems Inc. et al

    Plaintiff PACid Group is a Texas limited liability company with its principal place of business in Tyler.

    It claims to own the rights to two patents dealing with file encryption: U.S. Patent No. 5,963,646 issued Oct. 5, 1999; and U.S. Patent No. 6,049,612 issued April 11, 2000.

    In a 50-page complaint, PACid alleges that 31 defendant companies are infringing the '646 and '612 Patents.

    Defendants named in the suit include Cisco Systems, Scientific-Atlanta, D-Link, Siemens, Chantry Networks, Juniper Networks, Zyxel Communications, Alcatel-Lucent, Texas Instruments, Ralink Technology and Qualcomm.

    According to the complaint, infringing products include program instructions executable to generate encryption keys by combining a constant value with a secret plural bit sequence and performing a secure hash operation on the shuffled bit result to produce a message digest from which the encryption key is extracted or to produce a pseudo-rand result.

    "The encryption keys are used to encrypt and decrypt data transmitted over wireless networks that are enabled by the hardware/software made, used or sold by defendants," the complaint states.

    PACid is seeking compensatory damages, costs, expenses, interest, a permanent injunction, enhanced damages, attorneys' fees and other relief to which it may be entitled.

    Andrew Spangler of Spangler Law PC in Longview is lead attorney for the plaintiff, with Marc A. Fenster of Russ, August & Kabat of Los Angeles, Calif.

    The case has been assigned to U.S. District Judge Leonard E. Davis.

    Case No. 6:09-cv-324-LED

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