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N5 Techs. LLC v. Capital One Bank, N.A.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 01-30-2014
Case #: 1:13-cv-386
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division
Full Text Opinion: http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/virginia/vaedce/1:2013cv00386/293295/125
LexisNxis Link: 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12376
Westlaw Link: 2014 WL 354425

Patents: Infringement: Literal infringement was not found when the accused method did not practice each limitation in the asserted claim. Further a statement by an expert pertaining to patent validity was insufficiently probative of the issue of infringement under the doctrine of equivalence.

Opinion (Ellis): N5 Techs., LLC, ("N5") a non-practicing entity, sued Capital One Bank, N.A. ("Capital One") alleging infringement of its patent, which “purports to cover” a method of using text messages to authenticate a cell phone user to permit the user to access information stored on a private server. During claim construction, the court construed the claims at issue to require a two step process where the private server must first check whether a user’s unique identifier was stored in a database, and then check whether the mobile station number matched the mobile station number associated with the unique identifier in the database. Following claim construction, Capital One moved for summary judgment of non-infringement. To prove literal infringement, a plaintiff must show that the accused method practices each limitation in the asserted claim. Capital One’s method performed the authentication steps in the reverse order of the order specified in the patent. Accordingly, the court held that Capital One did not literally infringe the patent. A method infringes under the doctrine of equivalents when a preponderance of the evidence shows that there is equivalence between the elements of the accused process and the claims of the patent. N5 did not offer its own evidence of infringement under the doctrine of equivalence, rather it relied on a statement, in Capital One’s expert’s report (pertaining to patent invalidity), that the order of checking station numbers and unique identifiers was merely a design choice. The court held that a statement focused on validity of a patent is insufficiently probative of the question of infringement under the doctrine of equivalence to support a finding of infringement. Additionally, the court held that the statement was not admissible because it did not fit within any exception to the hearsay rule.