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Hybrid Audio, LLC v. Visual Land, Inc.

United States District Court, C.D. California

April 5, 2018

HYBRID AUDIO, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
VISUAL LAND, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER RE: DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS [35]

          RONALD S.W. LEW, Senior U.S. District Judge

         Currently before the Court is Defendant Visual Land, Inc.'s (“Defendant”) Motion to Dismiss (“Motion”) [35]. Having reviewed all papers submitted pertaining to this Motion, the Court NOW FINDS AND RULES AS FOLLOWS: the Court DENIES Defendant's Motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Background

         Plaintiff Hybrid Audio, LLC (“Plaintiff”) is a limited liability corporation existing under the laws of Virginia, with its principal place of business in Virginia. Compl. ¶ 2, ECF No. 1. Defendant is a corporation existing under the laws of California, with its principal place of business in California. Id. ¶ 3.

         On February 25, 1997, Aware, Inc., Plaintiff's predecessor-in-interest, filed an application for a patent entitled Signal Processing Utilizing a Tree-Structured Array, which the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) issued as U.S. Patent No. 6, 252, 909 (the “‘909 Patent”) on June 26, 2001. Id. ¶ 10. After a reissue application was filed for the ‘909 Patent, the ‘909 Patent reissued with certificate number RE40, 281 (the “‘281 Patent”), the patent at issue in this Action. Id. ¶ 11.

         On December 22, 2010, Aware, Inc. assigned all right, title, and interest in the ‘281 Patent to Hybrid Audio-Texas, which subsequently sent Defendant a letter providing notice that Hybrid Audio-Texas believed that Defendant's products infringed claims of the ‘281 Patent. Id. ¶¶ 12-13.

         On June 18, 2012, during the pendency of an unrelated litigation, a request for reexamination of the ‘281 Patent was filed with the PTO. Id. ¶ 15. The ‘281 Patent expired on September 21, 2012. Id. ¶ 16. The PTO issued a reexamination certificate for the ‘281 Patent on December 1, 2015 confirming patentability of the reexamined claims. Id. ¶ 15. During the period of reexamination, Hybrid Audio-Texas was prohibited from seeking royalties or filing lawsuits. Id. ¶ 16.

         On March 28, 2016, Hybrid Audio-Texas assigned all right, title, and interest in the ‘281 Patent to Plaintiff. Id. ¶ 17.

         The ‘281 Patent relates to audio signal processing technology used in conjunction with MP3 technologies. Id. ¶ 19.

         B. Procedural Background

         Plaintiff filed its Complaint on May 18, 2017 in the District of Massachusetts seeking royalties from Defendant for the alleged infringement of the ‘281 Patent from January 5, 2011, the date on which Plaintiff's predecessor-in-interest notified Defendant of its alleged infringement, through September 21, 2012, the expiration of the ‘281 Patent. Id. ¶ 18. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant has and continues to directly infringe Claims 5-6, 9-13, 15-22, 24-30, 32-35, 38-42, 45-49, 50-51, 53, 55-61, 63, and 65-121 (the “Asserted Claims”) of the ‘281 Patent. Id. ¶ 33.

         On September 27, 2017, Plaintiff filed its unopposed Motion to Transfer Venue to the Central District of California [9]. The Motion to Transfer Venue was granted on September 28, 2017 [10], and the Action was transferred to this Court on December 14, 2017 [11].

         Defendant filed the instant Motion [35] on February 3, 2018. Plaintiff opposed on February 20, 2018 [41], and ...


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