Digital Reg of Texas, LLC v. Adobe Systems Incorporated et al.
U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
Case No. 3:12-cv-01971-NC, Filed April 20, 2012

As reported previously, Digital Reg of Texas LLC sued Valve Corporation, Adobe Systems Inc., Electronic Arts, Inc., Symantec Corporation, AVG Technologies USA, Zynga Inc., Zynga Game Network Inc., Valve Corporation, Ubisoft Entertainment, Inc. and Intuit Inc. for infringement of one or more of seven patents related to digital rights management. The suit, which echoes a similar suit Digital Reg settled in 2009, claimed among other things that software such as EA’s Download Manager and Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite had infringed its patents.

Digital Reg alleged the defendants all sold products which included digital rights management product restrictions that infringed Digital Reg’s patents. For example, EA uses the Download Manager to allow games that are purchased online to download directly to a computer.

The case progressed normally.  There were initially some discovery disputes between Digital Reg and EA. Digital Reg was seeking royalties for the infringed patents, and requested EA's financial information regarding their Origin platform for distributing online games. EA maintained that Origin is a free-to-use platform, and because EA's computer games were not allegedly infringing, the financial information regarding Origin would have only marginal relevance.

On June 10, 2014, the Court granted a summary judgment motion in part which was brought jointly by Adobe, Symantec, and Ubisoft jointly regarding non-infringement of patents.

The case subsequently proceeded to trial.  On December 22, 2014, the court found in favor of Adobe on Digital Reg's claims for infringement, after a jury verdict on September 8, 2014. The jury verdict found that Digital Reg’s patents were invalid as obvious. Any remaining claims against Adobe were dismissed with prejudice. Judgment was also entered in favor of Ubisoft on Digital Reg's claims for infringement. Any remaining claims against Ubisoft were dismissed with prejudice as well.

This judgment disposed of all claims before the Court, and the claims against all other Defendants which were previously dismissed. This included Docket Nos. 309 (Zynga Game Network Inc. and Zynga, Inc.), 319 (AVG Technologies USA, Inc.), 346 (Intuit Inc.), 387 (Valve), 460 (EA), and 582 (Symantec). This was a final, appealable judgment. On April 8, 2016, the judgment in favor of Adobe was affirmed.

There are a number of implications stemming from the outcome of this case. Adobe celebrated the outcome as a big win, as did members of the tech community who have been advocating for patent reform. Patent reform advocates argue for a reduction in the number of software patents as well as limiting the amount of patent protection currently in place. Adobe argued that Digital Reg was going after money-making companies seeking to profit after failing to find success with its patents. Whichever side you take, this case pushes in the direction of reform for the IP community.

Additional research by: Rachel Johns

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