Masterobjects, Inc. v. Microsoft Corp

Filing 1

COMPLAINT; summons issued against Microsoft Corp (Filing fee $ 350, receipt number 34611059925). Filed by Masterobjects, Inc.. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet, # 2 Summons, # 3 Exhibit)(slh, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/17/2011)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 SPENCER HOSIE (CA Bar No. 101777) shosie@hosielaw.com GEORGE F. BISHOP (CA Bar No. 89205) gbishop@hosielaw.com DIANE S. RICE (CA Bar No. 118303) drice@hosielaw.com WILLIAM P. NELSON (CA Bar No. 196091) wnelson@hosielaw.com HOSIE RICE LLP 600 Montgomery Street, 34th Floor San Francisco, CA 94111 (415) 247-6000 Tel. (415) 247-6001 Fax 8 Attorneys for Plaintiff 9 MASTEROBJECTS, INC. 10 11 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA SAN FRANCISCO DIVISION 12 13 14 15 MASTEROBJECTS, INC., Case No. CV 11-2402 EMC 16 Plaintiff, 17 ORIGINAL COMPLAINT AND DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL v. 18 19 20 MICROSOFT CORP., Defendant. 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 ORIGINAL COMPLAINT AND JURY DEMAND Case No. CV 11-2402 EMC 1 Plaintiff MasterObjects, Inc. (“MasterObjects” or “Plaintiff”) hereby files its 2 complaint against defendant Microsoft Corporation (“Microsoft” or “Defendant”), for patent 3 infringement. For its complaint, Plaintiff alleges, on personal knowledge as to its own acts 4 and on information and belief as to all other matters, as follows: 5 6 PARTIES 1. MasterObjects is a corporation organized under the laws of the State of 7 8 9 10 Delaware, with its principal place of business in San Francisco, California, prior to January 1, 2010, and now Maarssen, Netherlands. 2. Microsoft is a corporation organized under the laws of the State of Delaware, 11 with its principal place of business in Redmond, Washington. 12 13 JURISDICTION AND VENUE 3. This complaint asserts a cause of action for patent infringement under the 14 Patent Act, 35 U.S.C. § 271. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this matter by 15 16 virtue of 28 U.S.C. § 1338(a). Venue is proper in this Court by virtue of 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) 17 and (c) and 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b), in that Microsoft may be found in this district, has 18 committed acts of infringement in this district, and a substantial part of the events giving rise 19 to the claim occurred in this district. 20 21 4. This Court has personal jurisdiction over Microsoft because Microsoft has a place of business in, and provides infringing products and services in, the Northern District 22 23 of California. INTRADISTRICT ASSIGNMENT 24 25 5. Pursuant to Civil LR 3-2(c), this case should be subject to district-wide 26 assignment because it is an Intellectual Property Action. 27 28 ORIGINAL COMPLAINT AND JURY DEMAND 1 Case No. CV 11-2402 EMC 1 I. STATEMENT OF FACTS. 2 A. The Plaintiff MasterObjects and its Instant Search Technology. 3 6. From the earliest days of Internet search, the search process has been 4 hampered by what is known as the “request-response loop.” The user would type a query 5 6 into a static input field, click a “submit” or “search” button, wait for the query to be sent to a remote database, wait for the result set to be returned to the server, wait for the server to 7 8 9 10 build an HTML page, wait for the page to load into the browser, and then wait for the client window to be redrawn so that the result set could be viewed. 7. Inherent in the “request-response loop” is the pragmatic reality that, if the 11 result set did not match user expectations, the entire process had to be repeated, recursively, 12 until the results satisfied the user. 13 14 8. In 2000, Mark Smit, the founder of Plaintiff MasterObjects, invented a novel approach to search, an approach that solved the “request-response loop” problem. Smit 15 16 envisioned a system where a dynamic and intelligent search field would immediately begin 17 submitting a search query as soon as the user began typing characters into the query field. 18 Using asynchronous communications technology, as the user typed more characters, the 19 results in the drop-down box would change dynamically, becoming increasingly relevant as 20 the string of characters lengthened. In essence, search would become effective and granular 21 at the character level, not the block request submit level. More, this would happen real-time, 22 as the user typed in characters, and not be dependent on hitting a “search” or “submit 23 button.” 24 25 9. MasterObjects filed its first patent application in August 2001, “System and 26 Method for Asynchronous Client Server Session Communication.” 27 28 ORIGINAL COMPLAINT AND JURY DEMAND 2 Case No. CV 11-2402 EMC 10. 1 MasterObjects filed its second patent application in 2004, as a continuation- 2 in-part of the 2001 filing. This second application, titled “System and Method for Utilizing 3 Asynchronous Client Server Communications Objects,” issued as U.S. Patent No. 7,752,326 4 in July 2010 (“ʼ326” or “instant search”). 5 11. 6 The ʼ326 Abstract summarizes the invention as follows: A session-based client-server asynchronous information search and retrieval system for sending character-bycharacter or multi-character strings of data to an intelligent server, that can be configured to immediately analyze the lengthening string and return to the client increasingly appropriate search information. Embodiments include integration within an Internet, web or other online environment, including applications for use in interactive database searching, data entry, online searching, online purchasing, music purchasing, people-searching, and other applications. In some implementations the system may be used to provide dynamically focused suggestions, autocompleted text, or other input-related assistance, to the user. 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 12. MasterObjects makes and sells products that practice the ʼ326 patent, and 16 MasterObjects has been selling these products from approximately 2004 forward. 17 MasterObjects remains a going concern today, selling products that practice its patented 18 technology. 19 13. 20 By May 2008, Microsoft had been notified in writing of the MasterObjects 21 technology, and its pursuit of patent protection for its inventions. Since that time, 22 Microsoft’s continuing manufacture, use and sale of the infringing products and services 23 identified below has been in deliberate disregard of a known risk that MasterObjects had a 24 25 protective patent covering those technologies. /// 26 27 28 ORIGINAL COMPLAINT AND JURY DEMAND 3 Case No. CV 11-2402 EMC 1 B. The Infringing Microsoft Products. 2 14. Microsoft products and services infringe the claims of MasterObjects’ ʼ326 3 patent, as set out below. 4 Microsoft Bing 5 6 15. Bing, formerly known as Live Search, Windows Live Search, and MSN Search, is Microsoft’s flagship Internet search engine, available at www.bing.com. Visitors 7 8 9 to the site are presented with a large field for entry of text corresponding to a desired search term. Microsoft Bing technology drives other search engine sites as well, including 10 Yahoo.com. 11 16. On information and belief, Microsoft enhanced the Internet search capabilities 12 of its search engine offering in 2006, with the introduction of Suggestions, a feature that 13 suggests to the user possible search queries as the user types. Prior to the implementation of 14 this feature, users of the Microsoft search engine were required to formulate their own search 15 16 query, type it in, click a “search” button, and wait for the search results to be delivered as a 17 series of web pages, and then, if the search results were not what was desired, refine the 18 search query and repeat the process again. 19 17. Using the Suggestions feature, as a visitor to Microsoft’s search site begins 20 typing individual characters in the search field, Microsoft’s enhanced search system 21 anticipates the user’s query, and asynchronously suggests complete queries that match or 22 enhance the partial query being typed by retrieving from Microsoft’s servers a set of 23 suggested queries. As the user types additional characters in the search box, the client 24 25 asynchronously communicates with the server, and the server returns a more focused and/or 26 predictive set of potentially matching queries to the user. This process continues as the user 27 continues to type characters, until a query is selected and search results are retrieved. 28 ORIGINAL COMPLAINT AND JURY DEMAND 4 Case No. CV 11-2402 EMC 1 18. These enhancements provide numerous benefits to Microsoft and its 2 customers, including speeding the search process, lessening user typing, catching mistakes 3 mid-query, and otherwise increasing user efficiency. 4 5 6 19. Beginning at least in March 2011, Microsoft has been providing previews of a new version of Bing for HTML5-compatible browsers. Unlike previous versions of Microsoft’s search engine offering, this new version of Bing not only provides suggested 7 8 9 search queries as a user types, but also provides “instant” search results: using asynchronous communication technology, search results are sent to the user as the user types, character-by- 10 character. Search results are changed based on the additional characters inputted by the user, 11 that is, as the query character string lengthens. 12 Internet Explorer, Windows Phone, Browser Toolbars, and Mobile Applications 13 20. Microsoft has now extended its enhanced search capabilities beyond the 14 Bing.com website, via its Internet Explorer browser, its Windows Phone mobile phone 15 16 software, browser toolbars for other browsers, and mobile Bing applications for the iOS and 17 Android software platforms. Each of these software applications provides a more focused 18 and/or predictive set of potentially matching queries to the user as the user types, utilizing 19 asynchronous communication technology to retrieve these queries from a server location. 20 COUNT I 21 PATENT INTRINGEMENT (The Instant Search Patent) 22 23 24 25 21. On July 6, 2010, United States Patent No. 7,752,326 entitled “System and Method For Utilizing Asynchronous Client Server Communications Objects” was duly and legally issued. A true and correct copy of the ʼ326 patent is attached as Exhibit A. 26 27 22. Mark Smit is the inventor of the ʼ326 instant search patent. The ʼ326 28 ORIGINAL COMPLAINT AND JURY DEMAND 5 Case No. CV 11-2402 EMC 1 patent has been assigned to Plaintiff. Plaintiff MasterObjects is the sole legal and rightful 2 owner of the instant search patent. 3 23. Microsoft makes, uses, and sells products that infringe the instant search 4 patent, as alleged above in paragraphs 14 through 20 and incorporated here by reference. 5 6 This conduct constitutes infringement under 35 U.S.C. § 271(a). 24. In addition, Microsoft has infringed and is still infringing the instant search 7 8 9 patent in this country through, inter alia, its active inducement of others to make, use, and/or sell the systems, products and methods claimed in one or more claims of the patents. 10 Microsoft supplies infringing products and technology to others, including Yahoo. 11 Microsoft’s customers directly infringe the instant search patent, and were induced to do so 12 by Microsoft. Microsoft knows of the instant search patent and its contents, and has 13 deliberately disregarded a known risk that MasterObjects had obtained an instant search 14 patent. Microsoft actively and knowingly encouraged, aided and abetted its customers to 15 16 directly infringe the instant search patent. Microsoft offered its infringing products for sale 17 or distribution with the intent of promoting their use to infringe. Microsoft intentionally 18 encouraged its customers to infringe the instant search patent by advertising its products for 19 infringing uses, and instructing its customers how to use the products to engage in 20 infringement. Microsoft had specific intent to encourage customers to infringe the instant 21 search patent, knew of or deliberately disregarded a known risk that MasterObjects had 22 obtained an instant search patent, and knew or should have known that its actions would 23 encourage customers to actually infringe the instant search patent. This conduct constitutes 24 25 infringement under 35 U.S.C. § 271(b). 26 25. In addition, Microsoft has infringed and is still infringing the instant search 27 patent in this country through, inter alia, providing and selling goods and services including 28 ORIGINAL COMPLAINT AND JURY DEMAND 6 Case No. CV 11-2402 EMC 1 the infringing products and services designed for use in practicing one or more claims of the 2 instant search patent, where the goods and services constitute a material part of the invention 3 and are not staple articles of commerce, and which have no use other than infringing one or 4 more claims of the instant search patent. Microsoft’s customers commit the entire act of 5 6 direct infringement. Microsoft has committed these acts with knowledge that the goods and services it provides are specially made for use in a manner that directly infringes the instant 7 8 9 search patent. This conduct constitutes infringement under 35 U.S.C. § 271(c). 26. As a result of the infringement by Microsoft, Plaintiff has been damaged, and 10 will continue to be damaged, until this Defendant is enjoined from further acts of 11 infringement. 12 13 27. Microsoft will continue to infringe unless enjoined by this Court. Plaintiff faces real, substantial and irreparable damage and injury of a continuing nature from 14 infringement for which Plaintiff has no adequate remedy at law. 15 PRAYER FOR RELIEF 16 17 WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for entry of judgment: 18 A. that the Patents-in-Suit are valid and enforceable; 19 B. that Defendant has infringed one or more claims of the Patents-in-Suit; 20 C. that Defendant account for and pay to Plaintiff all damages caused by the 21 infringement of the Patents-in-Suit, which by statute can be no less than a reasonable royalty; 22 23 24 D. that this Court issue a preliminary and final injunction enjoining Microsoft, its officers, agents, servants, employees and attorneys, and any other person in active concert or 25 participation with them, from continuing the acts herein complained of, and more 26 particularly, that Microsoft and such other persons be permanently enjoined and restrained 27 from further infringing the instant search patent; 28 ORIGINAL COMPLAINT AND JURY DEMAND 7 Case No. CV 11-2402 EMC 1 E. that Plaintiff be granted pre-judgment and post-judgment interest on the 2 damages caused to them by reason of Defendant’s infringement of the Patents-in-Suit; 3 F. that this Court require Defendant to file with this Court, within thirty (30) 4 days after entry of final judgment, a written statement under oath setting forth in detail the 5 6 manner in which Defendant has complied with the injunction; G. that this be adjudged an exceptional case and the Plaintiff be awarded its 7 8 9 attorney’s fees in this action pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 285; H. that this Court award Plaintiff its costs and disbursements in this civil 10 action, including reasonable attorney’s fees; and 11 I. that Plaintiff be granted such other and further relief as the Court may 12 deem just and proper under the current circumstances. 13 Dated: May 17, 2011 Respectfully submitted, 14 15 __/s/ Spencer Hosie__________________________ SPENCER HOSIE (CA Bar No. 101777) shosie@hosielaw.com GEORGE F. BISHOP (CA Bar No. 89205) gbishop@hosielaw.com DIANE S. RICE (CA Bar No. 118303) drice@hosielaw.com WILLIAM P. NELSON (CA Bar No. 196091) wnelson@hosielaw.com HOSIE RICE LLP 600 Montgomery Street, 34th Floor San Francisco, CA 94111 (415) 247-6000 Tel. (415) 247-6001 Fax 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 Attorneys for Plaintiff MASTEROBJECTS, INC. 25 26 27 28 ORIGINAL COMPLAINT AND JURY DEMAND 8 Case No. CV 11-2402 EMC DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL 1 2 Plaintiff, by its undersigned attorneys, demands a trial by jury on all issues so triable. 3 Dated: May 17, 2011 Respectfully submitted, 4 __/s/ Spencer Hosie__________________________ SPENCER HOSIE (CA Bar No. 101777) shosie@hosielaw.com GEORGE F. BISHOP (CA Bar No. 89205) gbishop@hosielaw.com DIANE S. RICE (CA Bar No. 118303) drice@hosielaw.com WILLIAM P. NELSON (CA Bar No. 196091) wnelson@hosielaw.com HOSIE RICE LLP 600 Montgomery Street, 34th Floor San Francisco, CA 94111 (415) 247-6000 Tel. (415) 247-6001 Fax 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Attorneys for Plaintiff MASTEROBJECTS, INC. 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 ORIGINAL COMPLAINT AND JURY DEMAND 9 Case No. CV 11-2402 EMC