Infringement via Multiple Product Lines

Infringement via Multiple Product Lines

by Dennis Crouch

Vocalife LLC v., Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2022) (non-precedential)

Vocalife’s patent covers an enhanced microphone system that identifies the location of a target sound source and then uses beamforming to improve sound collection from the target. U.S. Patent No. RE 47,049. The method for locating the sound requires an array of microphones that record relative timing of receiving sounds. The delay is then used to calculate the location and then direct the beamforming operations.

A key element of the claims is thus the requirement of “determining a delay between each of said sound sensors . . . wherein said determination of said delay enables beamforming for said array of sound sensors in a plurality of configurations.” RE47,049, Claim 1.

A jury sided with Vocalife–finding that Amazon induced its customers to infringe through their use of the Echo product and award $5 million in damages.  Judge Gilstrap upheld the verdict–denying Amazon’s renewed motion for Judgement as a Matter of Law (JMOL).  On appeal however, the Federal Circuit has reversed finding that the evidence didn’t prove these key limitations.

Amazon states in its documentation that its echo devices include multiple microphones that enable beamforming. 

Continue reading Infringement via Multiple Product Lines at Patently-O.

CareDx v. Natera: A Response To Professor Holman

Guest Post by Edward Reines.  Reines Co-Chairs the nationwide Patent Litigation practice at Weil Gotshal. He represents CareDx and Stanford in the pending patent lawsuits.

Professor Holman’s recent post on the Federal Circuit’s CareDx v. Natera opinion is a thoughtful addition to Professor Crouch’s review of that decision.  Professor Holman concludes that the Stanford inventions were doomed from the start because they can be labelled as “molecular diagnostics methods” and are thus patent ineligible under Federal Circuit law.  Professor Holman’s conclusion is troubling.  It would limit the patentability of new inventions in an entire scientific discipline merely based on a label.

This labelling mode of analysis is fundamentally flawed because the Supreme Court’s Alice decision mandates a two-step test focused on the claimed advance of the patent, no matter the field of invention.  The test is designed to “distinguish between patents” that would pre-empt a field by broadly claiming “[l]aws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas” and patents that do not pose this risk because they add to these concepts with “human ingenuity.” There is thus nothing inherent about molecular diagnostics that precludes their patentability and merely labelling a method as “molecular diagnostics” should not be a kiss of death.

Continue reading CareDx v. Natera: A Response To Professor Holman at Patently-O.