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Cellspin Soft, Inc. v. Fitbit, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

June 25, 2019

CELLSPIN SOFT, INC., Plaintiff-Appellant
v.
FITBIT, INC., MOOV, INC., DBA MOOV FITNESS, INC., NIKE, INC., FOSSIL GROUP, INC., MISFIT, INC., GARMIN INTERNATIONAL, INC., GARMIN USA, INC., CANON U.S.A., INC., GOPRO, INC., PANASONIC CORPORATION OF NORTH AMERICA, JK IMAGING LTD., Defendants-Appellees CELLSPIN SOFT, INC., Plaintiff-Appellant
v.
FITBIT, INC., MOOV, INC., DBA MOOV FITNESS, INC., NIKE, INC., FOSSIL GROUP, INC., MISFIT, INC., CANON U.S.A., INC., GOPRO, INC., Defendants-Appellees

          Appeals from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in Nos. 4:17-cv-05928-YGR, 4:17-cv-05929-YGR, 4:17-cv-05931-YGR, 4:17-cv-05933-YGR, 4:17-cv-05934-YGR, 4:17-cv-05938-YGR, 4:17-cv-05939-YGR, 4:17-cv-05941-YGR, 4:17-cv-06881-YGR, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers.

          John J. Edmonds, Edmonds & Schlather, PLLC, Houston, TX, argued for plaintiff-appellant.

          Stanley Joseph Panikowski, III, DLA Piper LLP (US), San Diego, CA, argued for all defendants-appellees in 2018-1817. Defendant-appellee Nike, Inc. in 2018-1817 and 2018-2178 also represented by Richard T. Mulloy; Amy Walters, East Palo Alto, CA.

          Ricardo Bonilla, Fish & Richardson PC, Dallas, TX, argued for all defendants-appellees in 2018-2178. Defendants-appellees Fossil Group, Inc., Misfit, Inc. in 2018-1817 and 2018-2178 also represented by David Brandon Conrad, Theresa Dawson, Neil J. McNabnay; Dalia Beth Kothari, Redwood City, CA.

          David Shane Brun, Venable, LLP, San Francisco, CA, for defendants-appellees Fitbit, Inc., Moov, Inc. Also represented by Indra Neel Chatterjee, Redwood City, CA; Leslie A. Lee, Washington, DC.

          Rachael D. Lamkin, Lamkin IP Defense, San Francisco, CA, for defendants-appellees Garmin International, Inc., Garmin USA, Inc. in 2018-1817.

          Ryan Seth Goldstein, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, Los Angeles, CA, for defendant-appellee Canon U.S.A., Inc. Also represented by Jeffrey Jakhong Ung; Jared Weston Newton, Washington, DC.

          Karineh Khachatourian, Rimon, P.C., Palo Alto, CA, for defendant-appellee GoPro, Inc. Also represented by Nikolaus A. Woloszczuk. Defendant-appellee GoPro, Inc. in 2018-1817 also represented by Daniel T. McCloskey, Duane Morris LLP, Palo Alto, CA.

          T. Vann Pearce, Jr., Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, Washington, DC, for defendant-appellee Panasonic Corporation of North America in 2018-1817. Also represented by Melanie L. Bostwick, Sten Jensen; Jason Kang Yu, Menlo Park, CA.

          Irfan A. Lateef, Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, LLP, Irvine, CA, for defendant-appellee JK Imaging Ltd. in 2018-1817. Also represented by Daniel C. Kiang.

          Before Lourie, O'Malley, and Taranto, Circuit Judges.

          O'Malley, Circuit Judge.

         Cellspin Soft, Inc. ("Cellspin") sued Fitbit, Inc. ("Fit-bit"), Moov, Inc. ("Moov"), Nike, Inc. ("Nike"), Fossil Group, Inc. and Misfit, Inc. ("Fossil"), Garmin International, Inc. and Garmin U.S.A., Inc. ("Garmin"), Canon U.S.A., Inc. ("Canon"), GoPro, Inc. ("GoPro"), Panasonic Corporation of America ("Panasonic"), and JK Imaging LTD ("JKI") (collectively "Appellees") for infringing various claims of four different patents. Appellees moved to dismiss, arguing that the patents are ineligible for patent protection under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The district court granted these motions and subsequently awarded attorney fees to Fitbit, Moov, Nike, Fossil, Canon, and GoPro under 35 U.S.C. § 285. See Cellspin Soft, Inc. v. Fitbit, Inc., 316 F.Supp.3d 1138, 1143 (N.D. Cal. 2018) ("101 Order"); Cellspin Soft, Inc. v. Fitbit, Inc., No. 4:17-cv-5928-YGR, 2018 WL 3328164 (N.D. Cal. July 6, 2018) ("Attorney Fees Order"). Because we conclude that the district court misapplied our precedent in granting Appellees' motions to dismiss, we vacate its grant of the motions to dismiss, vacate its award of attorney fees, and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

         I. Background

         A. The Asserted Patents

         All four asserted patents-U.S. Pat. No. 8, 738, 794 ("the '794 patent"), U.S. Pat. No. 8, 892, 752 ("the '752 patent"), U.S. Pat. No. 9, 258, 698 ("the '698 patent"), and U.S. Pat. No. 9, 749, 847 ("the '847 patent")-share the same specification and generally relate to connecting a data capture device, e.g., a digital camera, to a mobile device so that a user can automatically publish content from the data capture device to a website. Each patent is described in more detail below.

         1. The '794 Patent

         According to the '794 patent, which issued May 2014, prior art devices could digitally capture images, video, or other types of content. To upload that content on the Internet, however, users had to transfer their content onto a personal computer using a memory stick or cable.

         The '794 patent teaches a way to transfer and upload data "automatically or with minimal user intervention" using a "data capture device" and a "mobile device." '794 patent, col. 1, ll. 64 - col. 2, ll. 1. These two devices communicate via short-range wireless communication protocols such as Bluetooth. Id. at col. 2, ll. 18-22. In particular, a "client application" on the mobile device detects and receives content from the data capture device over the wireless connection. The mobile device then "publish[es] the data and multimedia content on one or more websites automatically or with minimal user intervention." Id. at col. 5, ll. 55-59.

         Cellspin asserts claims 1-4, 7, 9, 16-18, and 20-21 of the '794 patent. On appeal, Cellspin does not agree that any of its claims are representative of the '794 patent or the asserted patents as a whole. Even so, Cellspin offers separate arguments only as to independent claims 1 and 16. The remaining claims depend from these two independent claims.

Claim 1 recites:
1. A method for acquiring and transferring data from a Bluetooth enabled data capture device to one or more web services via a Bluetooth enabled mobile device, the method comprising:
providing a software module on the Bluetooth enabled data capture device;
providing a software module on the Bluetooth enabled mobile device;
establishing a paired connection between the Bluetooth enabled data capture device and the Bluetooth enabled mobile device;
acquiring new data in the Bluetooth enabled data capture device, wherein new data is data acquired after the paired connection is established;
detecting and signaling the new data for transfer to the Bluetooth enabled mobile device, wherein detecting and signaling the new data for transfer comprises:
determining the existence of new data for transfer, by the software module on the Bluetooth enabled data capture device; and
sending a data signal to the Bluetooth enabled mobile device, corresponding to existence of new data, by the software module on the Bluetooth enabled data capture device automatically, over the established paired Bluetooth connection, wherein the software module on the Bluetooth enabled mobile device listens for the data signal sent from the Bluetooth enabled data capture device, wherein if permitted by the software module on the Bluetooth enabled data capture device, the data signal sent to the Bluetooth enabled mobile device comprises a data signal and one or more portions of the new data;
transferring the new data from the Bluetooth enabled data capture device to the Bluetooth enabled mobile device automatically over the paired Bluetooth connection by the software module on ...

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