Pending Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB) Final Written Decision Does Not Require Stay and Does Not Justify Rule 60 Relief: WesternGeco LLC v. ION Geophysical Corp., PTAB Litigation Blog
On May 4, 2016 Magistrate Judge Dena Hanovice Palermo denied ION Geophysical Corp.’s motion for stay and recommended that the District Court deny ION’s request for relief under Rule 60(b)(6) after the Patent Trial and Appeal Board found certain of the claims associated with the judgment about to attach to ION invalid. WesternGeco LLC, plaintiff, filed a patent infringement suit against ION Geophysical Corp., defendant, for multiple claims of four patents. WesternGeco’s patents utilize marine seismic streamer technology: technology that uses long cables that are attached to the back of the boat. These cables release acoustic signals and sensors that produce three-dimensional maps of the ocean floor’s surface to create clear images to help ships maneuver around natural barriers. Specifically, the patents protect streamer positioning devices that control the streamers’ position as they are dragged behind the boat. The District Court held, and the Federal Circuit affirmed, that claims on all four of the patents had been infringed. When the case was sent back down to the District Court to implement the Federal Court’s decision, WesternGeco petitioned to the United States Supreme Court for enhanced damages, and ION submitted the patents to the PTAB, utilizing a joinder motion to avoid the 1-year-from-service bar. The PTAB ultimately found several asserted claims unpatentable. Those PTAB decisions are now on appeal to the Federal Circuit.
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