Motorola Seeks Partial Dismissal of Patent Infringement Suit, Says Hytera Patent Invalid
Monday, October 23, 2017 | Comments

Motorola Solutions filed a motion seeking partial dismissal of a patent infringement lawsuit brought against it by Hytera Communications. In a separate filing, Motorola responded to Hytera’s original complaint, arguing that Hytera’s patent is invalid under U.S. patent law.

In August, Hytera sued Motorola in the U.S. Court Northern District of Ohio, alleging that Motorola had infringed Hytera’s U.S. Patent No. 9,183,846 in its MOTOTRBO radios. Hytera’s lawsuit followed a series of lawsuits Motorola filed around the world against Hytera alleging patent infringement of several of its patents and theft of trade secrets.

The ‘846 patent covers a method for adjusting sound volume in response to background or ambient noise, allowing a radio operator to hear and speak over it. Hytera alleged in its complaint that Motorola infringed the patent by including that patented technology in its MOTOTRBO radios.

In addition to the direct infringement, Hytera alleged that Motorola was indirectly infringing the patent by inducing direct infringement by others using products that embody the claims of the patent while Motorola had knowledge of the patent and knew or should have known that its actions would induce infringement by others.

Motorola’s motion asked the judge to dismiss the claims of indirect infringement on the basis that Hytera provided no facts to support those claims in its original suit.

“Specifically, Hytera’s complaint must allege facts that could plausibly show that Motorola had pre-suit knowledge of the patent in suit, but instead, Hytera makes only bare, conclusory assertions that are devoid of any supporting facts,” Motorola’s motion said. “And even if Hytera could satisfy the predicate knowledge of the patent requirements, its claims still fall short for failing to allege necessary facts for specific intent (induced infringement), substantial non-infringing use (contributory infringement) and egregious conduct (willfulness).”

In its other filing, the response to Hytera’s complaint, Motorola argued that the ‘846 patent is invalid under Title 35 of the U.S. Code Section 102, which describes the doctrine of prior art. Under prior art, a party or person is entitled to a patent unless “the claimed invention was patented, described in a printed publication, or in public use, on sale or otherwise available to the public before the effective filing date of the claimed invention …”

Motorola argued that U.S. Patent 2006/0270467 and U.S. Patent No. 8,280,730 describe similar technology and invalidate the claims of Hytera’s patent in the way that Hytera is asserting those claims.

The ‘730 patent was filed in May 2005 and published in October 2012. The patent was invented by Jianming Song and John C. Johnson and originally assigned to Motorola Mobility, according to the patent. The patent describes a method and apparatus for increasing speech intelligibility in noisy environments.

The ‘467 patent was also filed in May 2005 and published in November 2016. The patent credits Song and Johnson as the inventors and was originally assigned to them, according to the patent. Like the ‘730 patent, it also describes a method and apparatus for increasing speech intelligibility in noisy environments.

Motorola argued in its response that both the ‘730 and ‘467 patents should have been known in the prior art by November 2006 at the latest. Hytera’s ‘846 patent was filed in December 2011 and published in 2015.

Motorola also claimed in its response that claims of the ‘846 patent are invalid because “they are indefinite and/or because the specification of the ‘846 patent does not contain sufficient written description and/or enabling disclosure to support the claims as asserted by Hytera.”

Motorola also argued that it did not infringe the ‘846 patent because “the accused products do not practice the elements of the claims of the asserted patent.”

Motorola asked for a variety of relief from the judge, including:
• A declaration that Motorola has not or does not infringe the ‘846 patent;
• A declaration that the ‘846 patent is not valid because it does not comply with several sections of Title 35 of the U.S. Code; and
• An order that would prevent Hytera or those associated with it from asserting infringement of the ‘846 patent against Hytera.

Judge Donald Nugent has not released a timeline for the next steps in the case.

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