The tale of Parallel Networks, told here before, may have reached its terminus. In 2010, Parallel sued over 100 defendants in a variety of industries—from car–makers to clothing retailers—in several large suits in east Texas asserting the same patent to a “Method and Apparatus for Client–Server Communication Using a Limited Capability Client Over a Low–Speed Communications Link.” Due to the size of the cases and the nature of Parallel’s litigation approach—an avowed policy of seeking early settlement based on the costs of defense—Chief Judge Leonard Davis came up with the idea of the mini–Markman, a combined early claim construction and summary judgment procedure that allowed the parties to contest and resolve a potentially dispositive issue early in the case, thus enabling a (comparatively) affordable decision on the merits. As it transpired, the result of the mini–Markman was favorable to the defendants, a summary judgment for the vast majority of the accused websites and associated defendants (including, full disclosure, clients of ours).
Last week, the Federal Circuit affirmed Judge Davis on all counts. In a unanimous opinion written by (now Senior) Judge Bryson, the court performed a detailed (and approving) review of the claim construction analysis that led to the result below, and found no basis to disturb the judgment. Absent a successful petition for rehearing by the entire Federal Circuit or a “Hail Mary” petition to the Supreme Court, the book is now closed on Parallel’s claims against the lion’s share of the original defendants.