On May 4, 2011, United States District Judge Claude M. Hilton of the Eastern District of Virginia issued an opinion rejecting a claim that LogMeIn Inc., a Boston-area computer-access company, had infringed a patent owned by Canadian competitor 01 Communique Laboratory Inc. Judge Hilton granted summary judgment of noninfringement for LogMeIn, finding that LogMeIn’s devices that permit a communication session between a personal computer and a remote computer cannot, as a matter of law, be construed to infringe 01’s patent, due to differences in the technology used by the competing devices.
In evaluating the patent claim, Judge Hilton reviewed the patent prosecution history and examined the way in which the Patent and Trademark Office and the inventor had previously described and understood the reach of the patent, including its limitations. The court found that LogMeIn’s product was dissimilar enough from 01’s intellectual property as to avoid any finding that infringement had occurred. Specifically, Judge Hilton found that 01’s patent, by its own admission, was to be limited to a system in which only a single device perform the multiple duties of the so-called “location facility,” including creating communication sessions, receiving a request for communication with the personal computer from the remote computer, locating the personal computer, and creating a communication channel between the remote computer and the personal computer. If several devices together performed those functions, the judge found, the patent’s claims were not implicated.
“The accused LogMeIn products do not have any ‘location facility’ that locates a personal computer and ‘itself’ creates a communication channel between a remote computer and the personal computer,” Judge Hilton wrote. “In briefing the Motion for Preliminary Injunction, 01 admitted that LogMeIn’s products function in precisely the manner that 01 told the PTO the ‘479 Patent does not cover – that is, by distributing the functions of the ‘location facility’ among different devices,” the judge added. No one component of the LogMeIn system itself performs all the needed functions of the “location facility” under the Court’s construction of the term, the judge noted.
LogMeIn has about an 18 percent share of the market for products that permit a personal computer to obtain access to a remote computer over the Internet.