Amazon's IP Win Shields Customers from Follow-Up Suits

Law360 reported that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held in a precedential opinion that PersonalWeb Technologies cannot relitigate a failed patent infringement suit over Amazon's cloud-based storage system by pursuing the claims against the tech giant's customers, finding that the suits were barred by claim preclusion and the Kessler doctrine.

According to Law360, the appeals court disagreed with PersonalWeb’s first argument that the new infringement claims against Amazon’s customers were different than those the software developer brought against Amazon in 2011 in the Eastern District of Texas. The court said that PersonalWeb may be asserting different facts and a different theory, but that wasn’t sufficient to avoid claim preclusion, because the claims of alleged infringement and harm involved the same Amazon S3 system use and transactions.

The publication noted that the court also disagreed with the second part of PersonalWeb’s argument that the infringement claims against Amazon in 2011 had not been fully adjudicated and so were not subject to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Kessler doctrine, which bars defeated parties from bringing follow-up litigation based on the same invention against the winning party's customers. The court held that PersonalWeb's decision to abandon its litigation constituted adjudication that Amazon was not liable for the acts of infringement alleged.

Amazon and its customers were represented by Fenwick patent litigation partners David Hadden, Saina Shamilov and Todd Gregorian and senior associate Ravi Ranganath.

The case is In re: PersonalWeb Technologies LLC, case number 19-1918, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

The Federal Circuit’s precedential opinion in favor of Amazon was also covered in The Recorder and Bloomberg Law (subscriptions required).

The full article is available on Law360 (subscription required).​​