In the complaint, Microsoft alleges Corel willfully infringes a number of Microsoft utility and design patents. In particular, Microsoft accuses Corel of infringing U.S. Patent Nos. 8,255,828 (“the ‘828 patent”); 7,703,036 (“the ‘036 patent”); 7,047,501 (“the ‘501 patent”); 5,715,415 (“the ‘415 patent”); 5,510,980 (“the ‘980 patent”); D550,237 (“the D‘237 patent”); D554,140 (“the D‘140 patent”); D564,532 (“the D‘532 patent”); and D570,865 (“the D‘865 patent”), all relating to aspects of graphical user interfaces ("GUIs") used in productivity software applications, such as Microsoft Office.
The four design patents forming the basis for part of the complaint are directed to "ornamental designs for parts of Microsoft user interfaces, including the Microsoft Ribbon" and, according to Microsoft, "Corel's advertising makes the copied Microsoft interfaces one of the central selling points of Corel's products: 'With a familiar Ribbon-style interface, Corel® Office looks like the office software you're used to, making it easy to get to work right away.'"
Accused Corel products associated with the asserted design patents include CorelCAD 2014-2016 and Corel Home Office, which includes Corel Write, Corel Calculate, and Corel Show.
Robert Gordon Industries, Ltd. ("Robert Gordon”) filed a complaint for declaratory judgment of noninfringement against Thermos, LLC (“Thermos”) on November 18, 2015 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Meanwhile, Thermos filed its own patent infringement action against Robert Gordon in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division, also on November 18, 2015.
According to Robert Gordon, the declaratory judgment action was filed as a result of Thermos' continued efforts “to extract a royalty payment under two Thermos patents; United States Patent No. D622,547 entitled 'Tumbler' ('the ‘547 patent') and United States Patent No. 8,348,078 entitled 'Leak Proof Drinking Lid With Pressure Relief' ('the ‘078 patent')," with regard to Robert Gordon’s Empire VM-57 Tumbler, despite Robert Gordon's willingness to discontinue this product and pay Thermos a $3,000.00 royalty (based on 5% of past sales). Robert Gordon seeks a jury trial to obtain a declaratory judgment of non-infringement and invalidity of each of the aforementioned Thermos patents.
For its part, Thermos asserted that Robert Gordon has "manufactured, imported, sold and/or offered for sale tumblers...in the United States that infringe the '547 patent," such as tumbler "SKU # VM-57 Silver" offered for sale on Robert Gordon's website.
Shown below, from left to right, are patent illustrations corresponding to Thermos' '547 patent (tumbler) and '078 patent (lid) and an image showing Robert Gordon's accused Empire VM-57 tumbler (based on Exhibit B from Thermos' complaint), respectively.
According to C&A Marketing, the D'423 patent protects the Polaroid Cube, created through C&A Marketing's capacity as the exclusive manufacturer, distributor, and marketer of Polaroid® brand mountable action cameras, among other Polaroid® brand products. Notably, C&A Marketing states that they launched the Polariod Cube in January 2014, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, which was followed by GoPro's release of the "strikingly similar" Hero4 Session camera in 2015.
Proposed fee adjustments specific to U.S. design patent applications, include the following:
- Filing fee: increase $20 (to $200);
- Search fee: increase $40 (to $160);
- Examination fee: increase $140 (to $600); and
- Issue Fee: increase $440 (to $1000).
The fees above, which are for a large entity, represent a total increase of $640, constitute a substantial fee increase for design patent applications as compared to the current fees.
The proposed fee adjustments also include fees related to international design applications.
Tables containing all of the USPTO's proposed fee adjustments are located at the following URL: http://www.uspto.gov/about-us/performance-and-planning/fee-setting-and-adjusting
The USPTO will make available online a webcast and transcript of the hearing at the above URL after the hearing.