一口咬苹果:先前专利诉讼的结果如何影响以后的诉讼
一口咬苹果:先前专利诉讼的结果如何影响以后的诉讼


排除问题和要求排除是被告侵权者可以依据的两个战略辩护,前提是该方先前已获得专利侵权诉讼。

Issue preclusion, or collateral estoppel, precludes a party from relitigating an 问题 actually decided in a prior case and necessary to the judgment. Under claim preclusion, or res judicata, a judgment on the merits in a prior lawsuit bars a second lawsuit involving the same parties or their privies based on the same cause of action. Claim preclusion also bars claims that could have been brought in the first action. Claim preclusion is limited to alleged infringement occurring prior to the final judgment in a lawsuit. Infringing activity after the date of the final judgment, however, creates a new cause of action.

The doctrines of 问题 and claim preclusion may leave a “gap” that would allow a patent owner to bring another lawsuit against a party previously found not to have infringed a patent, where any of the elements of 问题 preclusion are not met.

例如,甲方起诉乙方,指控乙方’产品侵犯甲方’的专利。法院裁定乙方’产品不侵犯甲方’的专利。如此,乙方继续制造和销售其产品。甲方提起新诉讼,指控乙方’在第一案的判决后生产和销售的产品侵犯了甲方’的专利。但是,在第二次诉讼中,甲方主张了一种新的侵权理论。无法排除问题,因为“issue”在第一种情况和第二种情况下是不一样的。尽管可以或应该在第一案中提出这一新理论,但并不适用要求排除在前的理由,因为所谓的侵权行为是在第一案的最终判决之日后发生的。这个“gap”将允许专利持有人反复提起基本上相同的诉讼。

凯斯勒学说填补了“gap” left by claim and 问题 preclusion. Originating in the Supreme Court’s decision in 凯斯勒诉埃尔德雷德在《美国专利法》第206卷第285页(1907年)中,凯斯勒(Kessler)学说禁止针对先前因专利无效或不侵权而对专利权人提起诉讼的卖方客户的专利侵权诉讼。联邦巡回法院裁定,凯斯勒主义原则适用于同一当事人,无论是初审还是私下,都禁止提出或可能提出的所有主张。

最近,在 在PersonalWeb Technologies中,961 F.3d 1365(Cir。2020) , the Federal Circuit addressed whether the Kessler doctrine requires the 问题 of noninfringement or invalidity to be “actually litigated”在第一个动作中。在此案中,PersonalWeb起诉亚马逊在得克萨斯州东区的专利侵权(“the Texas case”). After the court 问题d its claim construction order in 德州案, PersonalWeb stipulated to the dismissal of all its claims against Amazon with prejudice. As a result, the district court 问题d an order dismissing all claims against Amazon with prejudice.

多年后,PersonalWeb对亚马逊提起了许多专利侵权诉讼’s customers for using the same allegedly infringing Amazon product as in 德州案. Amazon intervened to defend its customers and the cases were consolidated. Amazon moved for summary judgment and argued PersonalWeb was barred from suing Amazon or its customers for infringement.

至少有一些所谓的侵权行为在“gap” left by claim and 问题 preclusion. Claim preclusion could not be used as a defense to the alleged infringement that occurred after the date of the dismissal of 德州案. Issue preclusion could not be used because the parties did not litigate the 问题 of non-infringement. With respect to the Kessler doctrine, the district court held that the judgment in 德州案 gave rise to a 有限贸易权 to continue selling the product at 问题, even when the acts of infringement occurred post-final judgment and even when it was third parties who allegedly engaged in acts of infringement. PersonalWeb appealed to the Federal Circuit.

On appeal to the Federal Circuit, PersonalWeb argued that the Kessler doctrine is based on collateral estoppel, and therefore, requires the 问题 of non-infringement or invalidity be “actually litigated” in 德州案. Because 德州案 was dismissed after the claim construction order, PersonalWeb contended that no 问题s were 实际诉讼 and the Kessler doctrine cannot apply.

联邦巡回法院驳回了这一论点。联邦法院推论其先前的先例“将Kessler原则视为与要求排除原则的密切联系,没有时间限制,而不是像PersonalWeb所描述的那样,将其作为非相互附带禁止反言的早期版本。” In 重新个人网站,961 F.3d at1377。考虑Kessler原则的先前联邦巡回法院的案件并没有特别要求对非侵权或无效性问题进行实际诉讼。相反,最高法院和联邦巡回法院“将凯斯勒主义定性为授予‘limited trade right’附加到产品本身。” Id. at 1378. “该权利的范围不仅限于解决较早的诉讼所必需的非侵权案件,还应扩大到保护制造商确立了不被起诉的权利的任何产品。”ID。将这种推理应用于德克萨斯州的案件,以偏见为理由的解雇保护了亚马逊’连续侵权诉讼中的产品。此保护也适用于亚马逊’的客户。联邦巡回法院表示,根据PersonalWeb’按照解释,制造商在制造产品时会受到保护,但在使用同一产品时不会保护客户。这种解释将破坏凯斯勒主义的目的,并且“保留专利权人自由进行最高法院试图在凯斯勒防止的相同类型的骚扰。” Id. at 1379.

关于PersonalWeb ’关于将凯斯勒主义适用于有偏见的自愿解雇将阻止当事方解决专利诉讼的论点,联邦巡回法院明确指出,希望原告提起侵权诉讼,同时又保留其将来起诉同一方或其他方的权利的原告,可以通过以下方式做到这一点:“制定解雇协议以保留被告愿意同意的任何此类权利。” Id.

考虑到上述情况,解决专利侵权诉讼的各方应明确定义在未来的诉讼或产品中保留哪些权利。否则,凯斯勒主义可以为诉讼和解后发生的潜在侵权活动(甚至是第三方)提供辩护。

发表于: 知识产权诉讼

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