SCOTUS asks for gov’t views in Amazon web-hosting patent case

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  • Federal Circuit discovered claims towards Amazon precluded primarily based on associated case
  • Plaintiff PrivateWeb stated patent-specific doctrine flouts precedent

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(Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday requested for the U.S. authorities’s tackle a case through which Amazon.com Inc and websites that use its internet hosting service together with Patreon Inc, BuzzFeed Inc, and Vox Media Inc escaped a patent holding firm’s infringement claims.

The Federal Circuit discovered final yr that PrivateWeb Technologies LLC could not file follow-up lawsuits towards Amazon and several other web sites hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS) for infringing its data-transmission patents as a result of the e-commerce large had already fended off PrivateWeb’s claims in a separate lawsuit.

The court docket cited the Supreme Court’s 1907 ruling in Kessler v. Eldred, through which a patent proprietor that unsuccessfully sued a producer for patent infringement was barred from then suing a buyer for infringement primarily based on the identical product.

“The Court in Kessler recognized that even if a manufacturer of goods were to prevail in a patent infringement suit, the manufacturer could be deprived of the benefits of its victory if the patentee were free to sue the manufacturer’s customers,” the Federal Circuit stated.

PrivateWeb stated in its April petition for Supreme Court evaluate that the excessive court docket hadn’t cited the century-old case that gave the doctrine its title in practically 70 years, and that “absent guidance from Congress, courts should not create special procedural rules for patent cases.”

The excessive court docket on Monday did not give the U.S. Solicitor General a deadline to weigh in on the case.

Amazon declined to remark. PrivateWeb and its lead lawyer Jeffrey Lamken of MoloLamken did not instantly reply to a request for remark, nor did Amazon’s lead lawyer David Hadden of Fenwick & West.

PrivateWeb deserted its earlier claims towards Amazon and AWS consumer Dropbox in East Texas federal court docket in 2014, after the court docket’s interpretation of the patents favored Amazon.

It later sued dozens of different alleged infringers in different courts beginning in 2018, together with a number of lawsuits towards AWS prospects the place Amazon intervened.

In its opinion final yr, the Federal Circuit stated a number of the infringement claims had been barred as a result of they had been raised within the earlier lawsuit, and claims introduced after that motion ended had been barred by the Kessler doctrine, which permits “an adjudged non-infringer to avoid repeated harassment for continuing its business as usual.”

The appeals court docket stated the doctrine “fills the gap” when infringement claims would not in any other case be precluded.

But Kessler “did not invent some broad new category of preclusion,” and extraordinary preclusion guidelines ought to apply, PrivateWeb argued in its April petition.

Amazon urged the Supreme Court to disclaim evaluate, arguing in its response to the cert petition that Congress “has never seen fit to overrule Kessler despite wholesale revisions of the Patent Act,” and the patent group “is untroubled by Kessler (as underscored by the lack of amici curiae supporting the petition other than one other professional patent assertion entity).”

The case is PrivateWeb Technologies LLC v. Patreon Inc, U.S. Supreme Court, No. 20-1394.

For PrivateWeb: Jeffrey Lamken of MoloLamken; and Michael Sherman of Stubbs Alderton & Markiles

For Amazon and its prospects: David Hadden of Fenwick & West; and Stephen Kinnaird of Paul Hastings

Read extra:

Fed Circuit tosses knowledge storage patent claims towards Amazon

Blake Brittain

Blake Brittain reviews on mental property legislation, together with patents, emblems, copyrights and commerce secrets and techniques. Reach him at blake.brittain@thomsonreuters.com

The logo of the web service Amazon is pictured in this June 8, 2017 illustration photo. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso/Illustration