California District Court Strikes at “Patent Trolling”
By Tyler Lacey – Edited by Amanda Rice
Diagnostic Systems Corp. v. Symantec Corp., June 5, 2009, No. SACV 06-1211 DOC (ANx) consolidated with No. SACV 07-960 DOC (ANx). Opinion
The United States District Court for the Central District of California granted in part defendant MicroStrategy’s motion requesting a more detailed statement of how its software products infringe on plaintiff Diagnostic Systems Corporation’s (“DSC”) patents, denying only MicroStrategy’s request for monetary sanctions.
The United States District Court for the Central District of California held that DSC must serve a supplemental answer to one of MicroStrategy’s interrogatories that includes more detailed Preliminary Infringement Contentions (“PICs”) within fifteen days. In so holding, the district court called DSC’s current PICs “vague” and “unacceptable,” especially given DSC’s status “as a company whose sole business is to enforce its patents.” MicroStrategy had given DSC’s software consultants copies of the allegedly infringing programs’ source code almost a year prior to the motion, but DSC had still failed “to provide PICs that explain how MicroStrategy’s source code infringes on the claims of DSC.” According to the court, the “bottom line” is that “after a plaintiff-patentee has had a reasonable opportunity to review the source code for the defendant’s accused software product, the patentee’s time for trolling the proverbial waters for a theory of infringement comes to an end.”