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United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
April 14, 2020, Decided
[*1320] Prost, Chief Judge.
Appellants TCL Communication Technology Holdings, Limited, TCT Mobile Limited, and TCT Mobile (US) Inc., (collectively, "TCL") appeal the decision of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas denying summary judgment that U.S. Patent No. 7,149,510 ("the '510 patent") is ineligible for patenting under 35 U.S.C. § 101. TCL also appeals the denial of its motion for a new trial on damages and challenges the jury's finding of willful infringement as not supported by substantial [**2] evidence. We reverse, hold that the '510 patent claims ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101, and do not reach the issues of damages or willfulness.
In February 2015, Ericsson Inc. and Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (collectively, "Ericsson") sued TCL for infringement of five patents. See J.A. 1000-04. Four patents were removed from the case following inter partes review proceedings, leaving only the '510 patent. TCL moved for summary judgment that the asserted claims of the '510 patent (then claims 1-5 and 7-11) were ineligible for patenting under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The district court denied the motion in November 2017, and the case proceeded to trial one month later. See Ericsson Inc. v. TCL Commun. Tech. Holdings, Ltd., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 183216, 2017 WL 5137401 at *1, *7-8 (E.D. Tex. Nov. 4, 2017) ("Summary Judgment Decision").
The '510 patent generally claims a method and system for limiting and controlling access to resources in a telecommunications system. At trial, Ericsson argued that TCL infringed claims 1 and 5 of the '510 patent by making and selling smartphones that include the Android operating system. According to Ericsson, these Android-based products infringe the claims of the '510 patent because they include "a security system that can grant apps access to a subset of services on the phone, with the end user controlling the permissions granted to each app." Appellees' Br. 6 (internal [**3] quotations omitted). The jury found claims 1 and 5 infringed, awarded Ericsson damages, and further found that TCL's infringement was willful. J.A. 38-39.
Post-trial, TCL moved for renewed judgment as a matter of law and a new trial on damages and willfulness, among other issues. The district court initially agreed, concluding that Ericsson's damages theory was "unreliable" and ordering a new trial on damages. J.A. 3. Following Ericsson's motion for reconsideration, however, the district court reinstated the jury verdict, and denied TCL's motion for [*1321] a new trial. Id. It also denied TCL's motion for judgment as a matter of law on willfulness, finding the jury's verdict supported by substantial evidence. Id. at 20.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
955 F.3d 1317 *; 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 11702 **; 2020 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 10340; 2020 WL 1856498
ERICSSON INC., TELEFONAKTIEBOLAGET LM ERICSSON, Plaintiffs-Appellees v. TCL COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY HOLDINGS LIMITED, TCT MOBILE LIMITED, TCT MOBILE (US) INC., Defendants-Appellants
Subsequent History: US Supreme Court certiorari denied by Ericsson Inc. v. TCL Commun. Tech. Holdings Ltd., 2021 U.S. LEXIS 2565 (U.S., May 17, 2021)
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in No. 2:15-cv-00011-RSP, Magistrate Judge Roy S. Payne.
Ericsson Inc. v. TCL Commun. Tech. Holdings, Ltd., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 183216 (E.D. Tex., Nov. 4, 2017)Ericsson Inc. v. TCL Commun. Tech. Holdings, Ltd., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78857, 2018 WL 2149736 (E.D. Tex., May 10, 2018)
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Patent Law, Subject Matter, Civil Procedure, Summary Judgment, Appellate Review, Appealability, Appeals, Reviewability of Lower Court Decisions, Preservation for Review, Trials, Judgment as Matter of Law, Standards of Review, Jurisdiction & Review, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Subject Matter, Utility Patents, Process Patents, Process Patents, Computer Software & Mental Steps