March 2009

It would be an understatement to observe that Microsoft’s patent suit against Dutch GPS vendor company TomTom has been closely watched. Why? Because Microsoft alleges that several of the patents at issue are infringed by TomTom’s implementation of the Linux kernel. In this first month of the dispute, the most urgent question has been this: will TomTom fight or fold? Now we have the answer: TomTom has decided to fight – and perhaps fight hard. Yesterday, it brought its own suit against Microsoft in a Virginia court, alleging that Microsoft is guilty of infringing several of TomTom’s own patents.

The question that many Linux supporters are now asking is this: is this good news for Linux, or bad? Here are my thoughts on that important question.

Continue reading ….

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First Circuit Declines to Reconsider Its Holding That Truth May Not Be a Defense Under 1902 Massachusetts Law

The First Circuit has denied Staples’ request that it hear the Noonan v. Staples case en banc, or that it ask the SJC to advise it on how to apply the 100 year old Massachusetts statute which provides that “actual malice” may create an exception to the principle that defamation must be false to be actionable.

I posted on this case a few weeks ago (link here), and commented on the agita it had created in the First Amendment milieu. In fact, a vast number of publishers and First Amendment advocates filed an amicus en banc brief urging the First Circuit to reconsider this decision

Today, the Court denied this request and let its February 13, 2009 decision stand. In an order several pages long, the Court found that Staples had waived any First Amendment challenge to the state law by failing to raise it earlier, and that Staples could not, moreover, cite a case supporting the proposition that the law was unconstitutional.… Read the full article

Free The Market! by Gary Reback

by Lee Gesmer on March 19, 2009

Gary Reback, famed antitrust/IP lawyer and long-time thorn in the side of Microsoft, has written a book entitled “Free The Market!”.  The book will be released in mid-April and is available on preorder at Amazon now.

Based on a few excerpts on Reback’s web site it looks like this will be an anecdotal, “in-the-trenches” book (as opposed to theoretical/academic) that should be well worth reading for those interested in the antitrust/IP wars of the last two decades. Reback was truly in the center of most of the big cases during these years, and I hope his book captures the legal issues, strategies and behind-the-scenes events that he witnessed.

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"You Assert That a 'Spike' is a Non-Pointed Structure Under This Patent?  That Will Cost You $4.6 Million, Counselor!"

As I’ve said so many times in this blog, it’s not the law you need to fear, it’s the judge.

In CU Medical v. Alaris Medical System (a patent infringement case involving medical valves) the patent owner/plaintiff argued that the term “spike,” described in the patent as “a pointed instrument,” included non-pointed structures, such as a tube.The California U.S. District Court trial judge didn’t take kindly to this frivolous argument (in the eyes of the judge).  The judge also found that the plaintiff had made “multiple, repeated misrepresentations . . . to the Court,” another no-no.

The trial court imposed sanctions totalling $4.4 million under 35 U.S.C. Section 285 (“The court in exceptional cases may award reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party”) as well as Rule 11 sanctions for good measure.

The CAFC affirmed. Here’s is a link to the case: CU Medical v. Alaris Medical System.Read the full article