A trio of Venable lawyers from Washington has persuaded the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida to dismiss with prejudice a patent infringement suit brought against the Boca Raton Resort & Club. Judge Kenneth Marra ruled against Global Patent Holdings on Aug. 12.
Global Patent owns U.S. Patent 5,253,341, or the ‘341 patent, which is a “multi-step process” patent covering an improved method of downloading and displaying audio/visual material. The company contended that Boca Raton Resort infringed the patent anytime an Internet user visited the hotel group’s Web site and viewed JPEG images there.
The Venable lawyers Douglas Baldridge, Caroline Petro Gately, and Michael Sartori cited a recent Federal Circuit case BMC Resources v. Paymentech (2007) for the proposition that infringing a multi-step process patent requires the alleged infringer to “perform every step” of the infringement or to control or direct the actions of the parties that performed the other steps. Since Boca Raton Resort did not control or direct the Internet user to view the images, the court concluded that the hotel group was not guilty of infringing the patent.
“It’s an interesting issue affecting Web site owners around the world,” Baldridge says.
Baldridge is anticipating an appeal from Global Patent. Boca Raton Resort is among 20 companies that Global Patent sued; the NFL’s Green Bay Packers is another.