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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