Connecting your smart phone to your car might be patent infringement. BLITZSAFE v. GM

Connecting your smart phone to your car might be patent infringement. BLITZSAFE v. GM

A United States patent grants its owner the exclusive right to make, use, sell and import within the United States.   If someone other than the patent owner attempts to exercise one of these exclusive rights that can be considered patent infringement.  A patent owner can combat patent infringement by filing a lawsuit against the infringer.  A plaintiff in a patent infringement lawsuit can request that the court impose an injunction to stop the infringing activity and get monetary damages for patent infringement which has occurred.

A patent is defined by its claims.  If an aspect of an invention is described in a patent but not claimed, then that aspect of the invention is not granted patent protection.  When a product is accused of patent infringement, the claims of the patent are what determines infringement.  Even if a product appears to be similar to a patented invention, patent infringement has not occurred unless the product demonstrates each of the properties claimed in a patent.   A plaintiff in a patent infringement lawsuit needs to carefully itemize each patent claim and demonstrate how a product infringes on the claim.  The more a plaintiff describes how a product embodies the claims of a patent, the easier it is for a court to rule in favor of a plaintiff.

BLITZSAFE TEXAS, LLC, v. GENERAL MOTORS CO., 19-cv-00377 (E.D.TX 2019) is a case which illustrates the base minimum that must be plead in a patent infringement lawsuit.

The plaintiff in the case owns  U.S. Patent No. 7,489,786 (the “’786 Patent”) entitled “Audio Device Integration System.” and U.S. Patent No. 8,155,342 (the “’342 Patent”) entitled “Multimedia Device Integration System.” The patents generally cover systems for integrating third-party audio devices and multimedia devices with a car stereo.

The defendant manufactures, imports, and/or sells audio and multimedia integration systems, generally known as Infotainment Systems, which have been installed in cars sold by the defendant. These Infotainment Systems include head units, extension modules, and iPod/iPhone and mp3 integration kits that the defendant makes and sells, and purchases from third-party suppliers.

The plaintiff filed suit against the defendant for patent infringement.  In its complaint the plaintiff alleges that claim 49 of the ’342 Patent, and claim 57 of the ’786 Patent are being infringed by the defendant. No other explanation of how the defendant’s products infringe upon the plaintiff’s patents are offered.  While the complaint meets the minimum necessary to survive a motion to dismiss, it creates more questions than answers.  If the plaintiff has such a strong case for patent infringement, why not spell it all out in the complaint?

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