The lawsuit brought by GeoComply to stop geolocation newcomer Xpoint from allegedly infringing on its patent has been dismissed.
Judge William Bryson of the United States District Court of Delaware dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice Friday. Xpoint had just received an extension to oppose GeoComply’s request for preliminary injunction on Wednesday.
The 43-page order points to one specific area that led to the dismissal, though Bryson also noted several areas that were too abstract.
Door open for new suit?
This might not be the end of the lawsuit, though, as Bryson’s ruling only concerns that specific claim:
Xpoint’s motion to dismiss for ineligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101 is GRANTED. Xpoint’s motion to dismiss for non-infringement is GRANTED as to the allegation of infringement of claim 10 of the ’805 patent under the theory set forth in Count II of the complaint. Xpoint’s motion to dismiss for non-infringement is DENIED with respect to the remainder of GeoComply’s allegations of infringement. (emphasis from source)
Xpoint celebrates its ‘Super Bowl’
Xpoint CEO Marvin Sanderson celebrated the geolocation ‘Super Bowl’ win:
“In the United States geolocation market, our Super Bowl took place two days early, and I am proud that Xpoint emerged victorious. We feel vindicated that the court recognized GeoComply had no right to monopolize this business-critical service, and we look forward to providing our technology more broadly across the gaming industry in the months to come – Xpoint is just getting started!”– Marvin Sanderson, Xpoint CEO
The company also released a statement:
Xpoint appreciates the District Court’s well-reasoned dismissal of GeoComply’s meritless allegations. By granting Xpoint’s motion to dismiss, and invalidating GeoComply’s only United States patent in the process, Judge Bryson ensured that the United States geolocation market remains open for competition and soundly rejected GeoComply’s anti-competitive lawsuit.
The court’s decision reiterates what Xpoint has maintained all along: GeoComply’s lawsuit was simply a desperate attempt to stifle competition and innovation in order to maintain its market position. Xpoint has and will continue to innovate, expand, and disrupt the geolocation marketplace. Disruption and change of any industry usually leads to attacks like the one we experienced from GeoComply, and Xpoint will continue to aggressively defend its rightful place in the market.
GeoComply is “evaluating next steps” after this ruling only focused on “technical patent matters:”
When we embarked on this process, as with any serious litigation, we did so with full awareness that there would be twists and turns along the way. So far it has not failed to deliver on those fronts. Many questions have been exposed that remain unanswered, including the publicly available 2022 third-party report which concluded that XPoint is “directly copying the [GeoComply] code.”
It is important to note that today’s decision only concerns technical patent matters. It does not address any of the various other troubling matters identified in the 2022 report and elsewhere. All of those questions will be answered. We respectfully disagree with this particular decision and are evaluating next steps in all available forums.– GEOCOMPLY STATEMENT
Questioned claim of GeoComply patent
While Bryson outlined multiple arguments over 43 pages, he pointed to one specific claim by GeoComply responsible in part for his ruling. GeoComply’s request for leave to amend the complaint was denied.
The claim in question is claim 10, which says a “non-transitory computer readable storage medium” is necessary to track the steps to confirm where a user is geolocated.
Bryson noted that GeoComply actually stated in its complaint that different entities are responsible for the geolocation process:
- The “transmitting” step is performed by Xpoint partner PlayStar’s customers.
- The “providing” step is performed by Xpoint.
- The intermediate steps are performed by PlayStar.
In other words, the program that provides a geolocation message to PlayStar’s server is on Xpoint’s server, with the program responsible for the rest of the steps is on PlayStar’s server.
GeoComply did not offer any response to this argument from Xpoint in the motion to dismiss: “GeoComply’s failure to respond to that argument constitutes a concession that Xpoint does not infringe claim 10 of the ’805 patent, at least under the infringement theory of Count II.”
Determining location not new or unique
Bryson noted a number of instances that could be seen as violating claim 1 of GeoComply’s patent. In plain terms:
- A user sends a request to one server, at which time geolocation data is collected from a program on the user’s device.
- A determination is also made concerning certain programs on the device, after which that information is sent to a second server.
- Then, a geolocation messaged is generated by the second server and sent back to the first server.
Practical examples of checking location
Bryson suggested Netflix could infringe on claim 1 when checking a user’s location to ensure content is available in that location simply by seeing if there is a US-specific banking app on the device, or if another streaming service not available in the requested country is installed.
The claims of the patent “essentially recite a method for verifying a user’s location using multiple sources, namely, geolocation data and the presence of certain types of programs on the user’s device.”
Bryson also mentioned the famous Stateline Casino that straddled the Utah/Nevada border. The casino included a white line that showed where gambling was legal: “For example, a casino that straddled the state line between Nevada and Utah was required to determine that a person was on the Nevada side of the building before that person could place a bet.”
The practice of confirming location is regularly used in casinos today, Bryson said, with sportsbooks having to determine a bet is not coming from a proxy bettor for someone located out of state.
Using multiple pieces of information a ‘longstanding practice’
Bryson pointed to two everyday examples from the state of Delaware to illustrate practical examples of checking multiple pieces of information to determine location.
The University of Delaware, for example, requires multiple pieces of information like proof of home ownership, tax returns or bank records to be eligible for in-state tuition.
Similarly, at the Delaware DMV, a person must submit two different pieces of proof of address before getting a license.