Canadian Queen's University at Kingston and PARTEQ Research and Development Innovations, have filed a joint patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung. According to the Plaintiff's filing, Samsung's SmartPause feature that is now incorporated into the Galaxy S4 and Note 3 infringe upon their technology. The case that the plaintiff's make is an interesting one worth noting.
Plaintiffs Queen's University at Kingston (Kingston, Ontario, Canada) and PARTEQ Research and Development Innovations (collectively, "Plaintiffs") file this Original Complaint against Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (SEC) and Samsung Telecommunications America, LLC (STA) for patent infringement.
Plaintiff Queen's University was established in 1841 in Kingston, Ontario and is one of Canada's oldest degree-granting institutions. Today, Queen's University serves as one of Canada's top research universities Dr. Roeland Vertegaal is a Professor in Human-Computer Interaction at Queen's University, where he directs the Human Media Laboratory at the School of Computing. Dr. Vertegaal has earned a degree in Electronic Music from Utrecht Conservatory in the Netherlands, a Masters of Philosophy in Computer Science from Bradford University in England, and a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction from Twente University in the Netherlands.
Dr. Vertegaal's primary field of research includes Attentive User Interfaces ("AUI") and the role of eye communication between humans and in interactions between humans and technology.
Dr. Vertegaal is a named inventor of all three of the Patents-in-Suit. Queen's University is the assignee of the Patents-in-Suit.
Plaintiff PARTEQ was founded in 1987 by Queen's University to commercialize intellectual property arising from university-generated research, while returning the proceeds from those activities to researchers and Queen's University. PARTEQ is a not-for-profit organization that provides institutional researchers with the support necessary to advance their discoveries to the public. PARTEQ is the exclusive licensee of the Patents-in-Suit.
Defendant SEC designs and manufactures a wide range of consumer electronics and computer-related products, including cellular telephones and tablet devices such as the Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 3. Defendant STA, a wholly owned subsidiary of SEC, engages in the sale of communication equipment. STA develops and markets Samsung-branded handheld wireless phones throughout North America. SEC and its subsidiaries conduct research and development through a corporate division called the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology ("SAIT"), which also manages SEC's entire United States patent portfolio.
From October 2003 to April 2004, PARTEQ and Samsung—through SAIT— 4 engaged in extensive communications and disclosures regarding Dr. Vertegaal's research and the related technology, which were contained in a patent application filed March 21, 2003. Samsung was aware of the 2003 patent application, and the parties had discussions regarding the application itself. During these discussions, SAIT was explicit about Samsung's interest in the commercial development, marketability, and application of Dr. Vertegaal's intellectual property within Samsung's electronics products.
On November 13, 2003, SAIT employee Taesuh Park contacted Dr. Vertegaal and requested a meeting on behalf of Samsung at the Queen's University Human Media Lab. Mr. Park specifically expressed Samsung's interest in commercializing Dr. Vertegaal's AUI that is the subject of the Patents-in-Suit.
On December 15, 2003, SEC signed a Confidentiality Agreement with PARTEQ. The agreement broadly covered the AUI research and technology developed by Dr. Vertegaal and the students and employees of the Human Media Lab.
On December 17 and 18, 2003, SAIT employees Dr. Heeseob Ryu and Taesuh Park visited the Human Media Lab and PARTEQ on behalf of Samsung. Dr. Ryu and Mr. Park toured Dr. Vertegaal's laboratory and viewed technical demonstrations and presentations related to the Patents-in-Suit.
Following the visit, PARTEQ sent Samsung—through SAIT— additional detailed information related to Dr. Vertegaal's research and the Patents-in-Suit.
On or about January 6, 2004, Mr. Park invited Dr. Vertegaal to participate in SAIT's New Innovation Team (NIT) program, which Mr. Park called "the most enhanced type of collaboration" between Samsung and outside researchers. Mr. Park solicited a proposal that would include existing uses of the AUI in addition to new applications of the technology, all 5 geared to the business area of Samsung Electronics. In the alternative, Mr. Park proposed "a project for commercializing your current patent (e.g., 'Attentive TV')."
During January and February 2004, Samsung and PARTEQ discussed issues related to PARTEQ's ownership of intellectual property rights in the then-pending patent application, including the validity and scope of the applied-for patent. During the course of these discussions, PARTEQ responded to Samsung's questions about the validity of the applied-for patent and answered specific queries regarding the application's claims. The parties also discussed possibilities related to the sale or licensing of the Patents-in-Suit.
On or about January 20, 2004, Dr. Vertegaal submitted his NIT proposal to Samsung through SAIT. The proposal included an attentive home theater system that could pause video content and perform other functions by processing a user's eye-contact cues. The proposal also enumerated mobile applications of the patented technology.
Samsung responded to Dr. Vertegaal's submission by stating that the proposed project was not "appropriate" for Samsung's NIT program. Instead, Samsung offered a one-year collaboration for Dr. Vertegaal to develop the attentive home theater application with SAIT. However, Samsung later reversed course and informed Dr. Vertegaal and PARTEQ that Samsung and SAIT were not interested in pursuing the project.
In March 2013, Samsung unveiled its Galaxy S4 smartphone, which featured what Samsung calls "SmartPause technology." In or about October 2013, Samsung included this technology in its Galaxy Note 3 device. As described below, the SmartPause feature infringes the Patents-in-Suit.
Despite its indisputable knowledge of Plaintiffs' patents and the technology described therein, Samsung has not purchased or licensed any rights to the intellectual property protected by the Patents-in-Suit.
Samsung products implementing the infringing technology are used, offered for sale, and sold in this district and throughout the United States and imported into the United States
Queen's University at Kingston et. al. claim that Samsung's Galaxy S4 and Note 3 infringe on patents 7,762,665, 8,096,660 and 8,322,856 all titled "Method and Apparatus for Communication between Humans and Devices."
The Plaintiffs are seeking a royalty from Samsung.
The patent infringement case presented in today's report was filed in the Texas Eastern District Court, Marshall Office. The Presiding Judge in this case is noted as being Judge Rodney Gilstrap and Roy S. Payne is noted as the Referring Judge.
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