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Next Move Up to Plaintiffs in Automation Patent Suit

MAD/DigiMedia has 30 days to respond to judge’s latest decision

The next move appears to be in MAD/DigiMedia’s court in the ongoing hard disk automation patent infringement case.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office released several decisions last week on patents 5,629,867and 5,809,246, which lie at the center of the patent infringement suit. In his Notice of Intent to Issue Reexamination Certifications (NIRC) and Office Action in Ex Parte Reexamination, patent examiner Michael Roswell cancelled some claims and rejected others, according to observers.

Mission Abstract Data and an associated company, DigiMedia Holding Group LLC, claim to hold patents involving hard disk radio automation systems. They filed a suit in federal court alleging patent infringement against several radio groups, like CBS Radio, Greater Media, Beasley Broadcasting, Entercom and Cox, in March, 2011. MAD/DigiMedia filed an additional, similar suit targeting four more broadcasters in Texas in February.

“It is likely that MAD agreed to the results in the Notice of Intent to Issue Certificate of Reexamination, so there would be no appeal. In the Office Action, I believe MAD could appeal the rejection of some of the claims, or it could agree to cancel those claims and the USPTO would then issue a Notice of Intent to Issue Reexamination Certificate,” said Bill Ragland, a patent attorney with Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice.

Regardless, it appears some of the claims, as amended, in each patent have survived the reexaminations, Ragland said. “Since I have not studied those amended claims it is not clear to me whether the amendments will make it harder or not to make an infringement case against the defendants.”

A reexamination certificate is typically issued within three months of the NIRC, according to Scott Daniels, an intellectual property attorney with Westerman, Hattori, Daniels & Adrian, LLP. “It appears the patentee will still have an opportunity to contest the rejections in the final Office Action,” Daniels said after reviewing the documents. The patent examiner wrote in the Office Action the statutory period for response is shortened to one month.

The original radio suit has been stayed since November, 2011.

U.S. District Court Judge Leonard Stark also 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, we reported. The judge wrote in his decision that he will lift the stay once the USTPO completes reexamination of both patents involved in the suit.

Judge Continues Stay in Patent Case