Access practice tools, as well as industry leading news, customizable alerts, dockets, and primary content, including a comprehensive collection of case law, dockets, and regulations. Leverage...
By Peter Leung
March 18 — ASUS Computer International and Dell Inc. can't be sued by a patent licensee for alleged infringement because the licensor retained too many rights, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado ruled March 15.
The court said that, though the licensing agreement between patent holder Ryujin Patent & Licensing Ltd. and licensee KW-2 LLC was entitled “Exclusive Patent License Agreement,” the contract actually reserved substantial rights for Ryujin. That means KW-2 was not an exclusive licensee with a true ownership interest and does not have standing to sue.
The patent involved is U.S. Patent No. 6,027,835 covering electrode sheet technology.
In granting ASUS and Dell's motion to dismiss, the court pointed to several provisions in the licensing agreement. It noted that Ryujin retained a 94-percent interest in any amount recovered in litigation. While retaining this type of interest does not automatically mean that the licensee is not exclusive, the fact that Ryujin has such a large share suggests that KW-2 lacked “important indicia of a true ownership interest in the patent.”
Another issue was the fact that Ryujin could block any assignment of patent rights to a third party. The court explained that the right to dispose of an asset is an important indication of an ownership interest, and restrictions to this right are often “fatal” to a claim that a licensee is exclusive.
Furthermore, KW-2 did not have an unfettered right to enforce the licensed patent, because the agreement listed specific entities that it couldn't sue. This was another indication that it was not an exclusive licensee, the court said. The argument that those entities were previous owners who wished to continue practicing the patent did not help KW-2.
The last factor weighing against KW-2 was the fact that it was obligated to pay the patent's maintenance fees but could not abandon the patent without Ryujin's consent.
Ridley McGreevy & Winocur PC and Prebeg Faucett & Abbott PLLC represented KW-2. Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP, McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP and Dentons US LLP represented ASUS and Dell. Dell also retained Farella Braun & Martel LLP and Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell LLP.
To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Leung in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mike Wilczek in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
Text is available at: http://src.bna.com/dqu.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)