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Fish Cases

Jury Invalidates Patent Claims In Win For Adobe Systems Inc.

Patent Litigation
United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

Fish Cases

Jury Invalidates Patent Claims In Win For Adobe Systems Inc.

Patent Litigation

United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
Back to Case Listing

Firm client Adobe Systems turned to Fish & Richardson to defend it against allegations by EveryScape of patent infringement. EveryScape alleged that Adobe's renowned Photoshop software infringed two patents relating to preserving perspective while clone brushing from one portion of an image to another. The Photoshop feature in question, called Vanishing Point, can be used to edit digital images in perspective, for example, in architectural and building photographs. After a two-week trial, the jury deliberated for less than three hours before returning a verdict that EveryScape's patents were invalid as both anticipated and obvious in view of the prior art.

"The firm’s diligence paid off. By finding the patents invalid, the jury agreed that the patents covered public domain technology that everyone, including Adobe, should be free to use."

In-Depth

Firm client Adobe Systems turned to Fish & Richardson to defend it against allegations by EveryScape of patent infringement. EveryScape alleged that Adobe’s renowned Photoshop software infringed two patents relating to preserving perspective while clone brushing from one portion of an image to another. The Photoshop feature in question, called Vanishing Point, can be used to edit digital images in perspective, for example, in architectural and building photographs. After a two-week trial, the jury deliberated for less than three hours before returning a verdict that EveryScape’s patents were invalid as both anticipated and obvious in view of the prior art.

EveryScape asked for millions of dollars in damages from Adobe. But the jury never even reached the questions of induced infringement or damages, instead finding each asserted claim invalid in view of the prior art. From the outset of the litigation, Fish & Richardson focused on the invalidity of EveryScape’s patents. This was no easy task, given the burden to prove invalidity by clear and convincing evidence and the historical reluctance of juries to “second-guess” the Patent Office. A prior-art photo-editing software package became the centerpiece of Adobe’s invalidity defense. In order to further strengthen Adobe’s defenses, the firm successfully located and deposed the developer of the prior art software, as well as the author of another key prior art textbook on the math underlying the perspective transformations at issue in the case.

Nevertheless, the firm faced an uphill struggle. Prior to trial, the district court granted EveryScape’s motion for summary judgment of direct infringement, since Adobe had never contested that the claims ultimately to be tried covered the relevant feature in the Vanishing Point filter of Photoshop. The firm successfully narrowed the issues for trial by convincing the district court that Adobe did not willfully infringe because its invalidity defense was objectively reasonable and also that Adobe could not be liable for contributory infringement given the substantial non-infringing uses of the accused filter.

The jury was also convinced by Adobe’s trial presentation, returning a verdict of invalidity for each asserted claim and, therefore, no liability for Adobe. The firm’s diligence paid off. By finding the patents invalid, the jury agreed that the patents covered public domain technology that everyone, including Adobe, should be free to use.