DISH Network Chips Away at Session-Saving Patent

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By Peter Leung

June 1 — DISH Network Corp. has knocked out several claims in a patent being asserted against a common feature found in such streaming services as Netflix and Spotify.

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board on June 1 issued a final written decision that found four claims of CRFD Research Inc.'s patent lacked novelty and were obvious in light of the prior art. ( DISH Network LLC v. CRFD Research Inc., P.T.A.B., No. IPR2015-00627, final written decision 6/1/16 ).

DISH's success may weaken CRFD's position in its infringement lawsuits against companies including Netflix Inc., Spotify USA Inc. and Hulu LLC, though several of the patent's claims still remain. Several other defendants, including Inc. and Time Warner Cable Inc., have settled.

Source Material:

DISH Network LLC v. CRFD Research Inc.

Final written decision: June 1, 2016

U.S. Patent No.: 7,191,233

CRFD's lawsuits against the various defendants were stayed pending the inter partes review proceedings (IPR) at the PTAB against the patent.

U.S. Patent No. 7,191,233 covers a method for “user-directed transfer of an on-going software-based session from one device to another.”

CRFD alleged that DISH's Hopper set top box, which allows a user to watch a video on one TV, stop and then resume viewing on another, infringed its patent. Its complaints against other defendants allege that similar features in their respective streaming services also infringe.

DISH's IPR petition is the fourth directed at this patent. In April, the PTAB issued a final written decision in an IPR brought by Iron Dome LLC, finding that claims 1-4, 6 and 8-11 are unpatentable.

However, several claims in the patent have survived attacks. On the same day the PTAB issued its final decision to the DISH petition, it also rejected a challenge brought by Hulu, Netflix and Spotify. In that decision, the board denied the petitioners' challenges to claims 1-6, 8-11, 13-15 17-20, 23-25, 29-31, 34-36 and 38-41.

The board also previously declined to institute an IPR petition filed by Unified Patents Inc.

Administrative Patent Judges Justin T. Arbes, Thomas L. Giannetti and Charles J. Boudreau decided the DISH matter, with Arbes writing the decision. Ascenda Law Group PC represented CRFD, while Kelley Drye & Warren LLP represented DISH.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Leung in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mike Wilczek in Washington at

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