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Motorola Violated Tariff Act; Imports Violated Microsoft Patent

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By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on December 18, 2013 2:56 PM

The Federal Circuit today reminded us all that judges are not clairvoyant, and if a party wants to make an assertion, it must back it up with actual facts and not "conclusory and generalized sentences."

In a quick and easy opinion (that is, for a patent case), the Federal Circuit affirmed the findings of the administrative law judge, and the International Trade Commission, and held that Motorola violated the Tariff Act of 1930 by importing goods that violated a Microsoft patent.

Microsoft Patent No. 6,370,566

Microsoft Patent No. 6,370,566 ("'566") claims a mobile device that contains a "personal information manager (PIM) which supports electronic mail messaging, scheduling and calendaring and an address book containing contact information." The administrative law judge did not agree with Motorola's arguments that prior art claimed the synchronization component of '566. The judge further found that Motorola met both the economic and technical prong, satisfying domestic industry requirements. The International Trade Commission affirmed the judge's findings, and Motorola appealed.

Patent Validity and Domestic Industry

Motorola challenged '566's validity arguing that the patent was invalid under the Patent Act pursuant to 35 U.S.C. §§ 102 and 103. Looking at the ordinary meaning of "synchronization component," the court found Motorola's argument unpersuasive because Motorola did not provide and clear and convincing evidence to support its theory. The court also found Motorola's reliance on expert testimony that was conclusory and without explanation, misplaced.

Regarding the domestic industry requirement of the Tariff Act, the court rejected Motorola's argument that Microsoft was relying on different products to satisfy the economic and technical prongs. Instead, the court found no distinction between the mobile devices and the operating systems used on the mobile devices.

§ 102

This case is a great example of basic legal principals -- you need to provide evidence to support your arguments -- what a novel idea. The Federal Circuit made clear that it, nor the lower courts, were required to "divine" defenses from the record.

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