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EveryScape, Inc. v. Adobe Systems, Inc.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 05-30-2014
Case #: 10-11597-RGS
United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
Full Text Opinion: http://pacer.mad.uscourts.gov/dc/cgi-bin/recentops.pl?filename=stearns/pdf/adobe%20v%20everyscape%20msj%20noninf.pdf
LexisNxis Link: 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73858
Westlaw Link: not yet available

Patents: Patent Infringement: Patent infringement analysis involves two steps: (1) the threshold construction of the meaning and scope of the asserted claim, followed by (2) a determination of whether the accused product infringes the properly construed claim. If no reasonable jury could possibly find that an accused product satisfies every claim limitation of the asserted claims, either literally, or under the doctrine of equivalents, then summary judgment of noninfringement must be granted.

Opinion (Stearns): Counterclaim-defendant EveryScape, Inc. (“EveryScape”) moved for summary judgment of noninfringement of U.S. Patents Nos. 6,411,742 (“'742”) and 7,095,905 (“'905”). EveryScape alleged that because critical elements of the asserted claims were missing, there could be no infringement. Counterclaim-plaintiff Adobe Systems, Inc. (“Adobe”) opposed the motion. Adobe’s '742 and '905 patents both describe methods of merging and blending overlapping photographic images of a view to form a panoramic whole. EveryScape’s accused product, “WebScape,” is a “virtual tour of a location provided by a web interface.” WebScape composes these “virtual tours” by stitching together a series of fisheye images to form 360 degree spherical panoramas. Patent infringement analysis involves two steps: (1) the threshold construction of the meaning and scope of the asserted claim, followed by (2) a determination of whether the accused product infringes the properly construed claim. If no reasonable jury could possibly find that an accused product satisfies every claim limitation of the asserted claims, either literally, or under the doctrine of equivalents, then summary judgment of noninfringement must be granted. EveryScape identified two relevant claim limitations in Adobe's '742 patent—a “masking limitation” and an “overlapping limitation”—that it contended its system does not meet. EveryScape argued that Adobe’s '742 patent contains a significant drafting error, specifically in the unambiguous use and plain meaning of the word “remainder.” EveryScape argued that Adobe’s reading urges a special definition for “remainder” and ignores the actual claim language. While the court agreed that the plain and ordinary meaning of “remainder” is what is “left over,” or what “remains,” because material disputes of fact exist as to how the EveryScape system actually operates, the court denied summary judgment regarding the '742 patent.

Adobe further argued that the accused EveryScape system infringes the '742 and '905 patents under the doctrine of equivalents. A common test under the doctrine asks whether the accused product performs substantially the same function, in substantially the same way, to achieve substantially the same result as the claimed invention. Using the doctrine of equivalents, Adobe’s tests found EveryScape to infringe both the '742 and the '905 patents. The rule against claim vitiation, however, states that there can be no infringement under the doctrine of equivalents if even one element of a claim or its substantial equivalent is absent in the accused device. EveryScape noted that, with regard to the “blending limitation” of the '905 patent, Adobe stated that its function is “to give adjacent images a smooth visual transition in the final panorama,” and that “[t]he EveryScape system performs the same or substantially the same function by causing PTGui to give adjacent images a smooth visual transition in the final panorama.” According to the court, this theory of equivalence ignored the “based solely on” requirement of the limitation for which the EveryScape product offers nothing that is substantially equivalent.

Therefore, the court GRANTED EveryScape's motion for summary judgment of noninfringement on the '905 patent, but DENIED summary judgment on the '742 patent.