With the increased use of mobile devices for business purposes, parties to litigation are more prone to seek text messages, instant messages and voicemails during discovery. A recent federal court decision addressed the discoverability of this information.
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Should a patent infringement lawsuit be stayed where an IPR challenges some, but not all, of the asserted claims? Magistrate Judge Hildy Bowbeer grappled with that issue in Oticon A/S v. GN Resound A/S, Case No. 15-cv-2066. Oticon, the patent holder, accused GN Resound of infringing 22 claims in a single patent. GN Resound petitioned for inter partes review. The PTAB instituted review on eighteen claims, but declined to institute review on the remaining four claims.
District of Minnesota Orders Patentee to Reduce Number of Asserted Claims After Filing Joint Claim Construction Statement
In May, the District of Minnesota ordered the parties in a patent case to meet and confer to try to reach an agreement regarding the deadline by which the patentee must reduce the number of asserted claims.
On May 8, 2013, Steven M. Gardner filed an action against CafePress, Inc. (CafePress). Gardner alleged that contents posted on the CafePress website, infringed Gardner’s copyrights in four works entitled “Find 12 Tigers,” “Polar Bears 10 Hidden Bears,” “Alaska Wildlife,” and “Harmony of Wolves.” The alleged infringement led to approximately $6,320 worth of products being sold.
A small rival of 3M, Moldex-Metric, Inc. (Moldex), claims that 3M brought baseless patent infringement claims to stifle competition. Moldex sued 3M for malicious prosecution, antitrust violations and unfair competition.
Octane Fitness, the winner in a six year patent infringement lawsuit, will receive an award of attorney’s fees. In 2014, the case resulted in a change in the legal standard that applies when a prevailing party seeks a finding that a patent case is “exceptional,” allowing the party to seek an award of attorney’s fees.
North Dakota Supreme Court Issues Decision Regarding Ownership of Minerals Beneath Railroad Rights of Way
The North Dakota Supreme Court issued its decision in EOG Resources, Inc. v. Soo Line Railroad Company, 2015 ND 187 on July 15, 2015. Prior to the issuance of this decision, most attorneys examining title to lands in North Dakota took one of two contrary positions relating to the ownership of the minerals beneath railroad rights of way which were evidenced by “Right of Way Deeds” or other similar instruments conveying strips of land to a railway company. Some attorneys treated these deeds as creating easements only, following the legal theory that because the railroad could have condemned the strip of land as an easement, it could have only obtained from the fee owner by a conveyance what it would have obtained by way of a condemnation. This position followed the logic outlined in Lalim v. Williams County, 105 N.W.2d 339 (N.D. 1960). The second position taken by other attorneys was that Lalim did not apply, and that the plain language of the deeds resulted in a conveyance of full fee title. This position was often accompanied by the citation to State v. Rosenquist, 51 N.W.2d 767 (N.D. 1952).
The United States Department of Labor (DOL) issued an Administrator’s Interpretation on July 15, 2015, warning employers against misclassifying workers as independent contractors rather than employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act. (Practically speaking, if a worker is an employee under one law, he or she must be treated as an employee for all purposes). The DOL explains that when employers improperly classify workers as independent contractors as opposed to employees, the worker does not receive important workplace protections such as minimum wage, overtime compensation, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation. The DOL also notes that misclassification results in lower tax revenues for the government and an uneven playing field for employers who properly classify their workers as employees.
In 1964, the Supreme Court decided Brulotte v. Thys and held that a patent owner cannot charge royalties for the use of a patented invention after the patent’s term has expired. While the Brulotte rule is simple, it has faced plenty of criticism over the years. Lower courts and academics alike have challenged the economic logic underlying the rule and criticized the decision as counterintuitive.