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Judge Continues Stay in Patent Case

MAD/DigiMedia wanted stay lifted on patent infringement suit involving radio automation systems; federal judge says USPTO needs to first finish patent reexamination

U.S. District Court Judge Leonard Stark has denied a motion by Mission Abstract Data and an associated company, DigiMedia Holding Group LLC, to lift the existing stay in their patent infringement suit against a number of large broadcast groups.

The judge on Monday said he will lift the stay once the U.S. Patent Office completes reexamination of both patents involved in the suit. The plaintiffs claim to hold patents involving hard disk radio automation systems.

Patents 5,629,867and 5,809,246 lie at the center of the infringement suit that targets CBS Radio, Greater Media, Beasley Broadcasting, Entercom and Cox. Mission Abstract Data sued the broadcasters in federal court in March, 2011.

“This is precisely the result one would expect,” said Scott Daniels, an intellectual property attorney with Westerman, Hattori, Daniels & Adrian, LLP.

The case has been stayed since November, 2011. The USPTO ordered a second reexamination last year after “prior art” not previously available was presented. Broadcast Electronics, which is not a defendant in the case, filed the original ex parte reexamination request with the United State Patent and Trademark Office.

A review of the USPTO website indicates a representative of DigiMedia met with the patent examiner in February this year. The USPTO will eventually set forth what is known as a Notice of Intent to Issue Reexamination Certifications, observers say.

Daniels said if the USPTO examiner maintains the rejection of one or more of the claims, DigiMedia Holdings Group may appeal the rejection to the PTO Board. “If it loses there, it may appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The reexaminations are complete only when all appeals are either waived or completed,” Daniels said.

The judge did grant a motion to allow Mission Abstract Data to join DigiMedia Holdings Group, LLC as plaintiff in the case.