A patent infringement dispute related to video sharing technology received new life Wednesday as the Federal Circuit found that a California court had wrongly axed the patent and dismissed the case.
The US District Court for the Northern District of California incorrectly invalidated Cooperative Entertainment Inc.'s patent by finding it only covers an abstract idea, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in a precedential opinion.
US Patent No. 9,432,452 contains concepts that Cooperative Entertainment plausibly alleged to be inventive, which “is enough to preclude dismissal,” Chief Judge Kimberly A. Moore wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel. The appeals court didn’t rule that the patent is eligible under Section 101 of the Patent Act, but sent the case back to California for more proceedings.
The ruling revives Cooperative Entertainment’s infringement suit against the cloud services company Kollective Technology Inc. After acquiring the patent in 2018 from a North Carolina company, Cooperative Entertainment sued several companies for infringement, including cryptocurrency firm Ripple Labs Inc. That case was previously dismissed.
At the motion to dismiss stage, a court can dismiss a suit for unpatentability only if there aren’t any plausible factual disputes after viewing the evidence in a light favorable to the patent owner, according to the opinion. The patent, which covers a system that lowers the cost of online video delivery, has claims that could be seen as specific improvements to prior inventions, which is enough to beat the motion to dismiss, the Federal Circuit found.
“This argument misses the point—useful improvements to computer networks are patentable regardless of whether the network is comprised of standard computing equipment,” Moore wrote.
Kollective, whose clients include Deloitte and HSBC, argued the patent’s claims are directed to the abstract idea of preparing content for sharing over a computer network. District Judge Edward Davila agreed, saying Cooperative Entertainment hadn’t described how any improvement was accomplished.
Circuit Judges Alan D. Lourie and Leonard P. Stark also served on the panel.
AddyHart PC and Wawrzyn LLC represent Cooperative Entertainment. Park, Vaughan, Fleming & Dowler LLP represent Kollective.
The case was Cooperative Entertainment Inc. v. Kollective Technology Inc., Fed. Cir., No. 21-2167, 9/28/22.
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