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Meta must face search-engine patent case, US appeals court says

Post Time:2024-02-18 Source:Reuters Author:Blake Brittain Views:

Feb 15 (Reuters) - Meta Platforms (META.O), must face a Dutch software company's lawsuit claiming it infringed patents related to a system for auto-completing search prompts, a U.S. appeals court said on Thursday.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reinstated the case, finding that a California federal judge misinterpreted the patents when he found before trial that Meta did not infringe them.

Representatives for Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"We are gratified that the federal court saw the issues exactly as we did," MasterObjects' attorney Spencer Hosie said.

MasterObjects sued Meta in Waco, Texas federal court in 2020, arguing that the predictive search function on Facebook's website and apps infringed its patents. U.S. District Judge Alan Albright construed disputed terms from the patents in MasterObjects' favor before transferring the case to California in 2021.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup reinterpreted the patents later that year and determined that Meta did not infringe them. U.S. Circuit Judge Alan Lourie wrote for the appeals-court panel on Thursday that Alsup had misconstrued two of the terms and incorrectly disregarded MasterObjects' proposed interpretation of a third.

The case is MasterObjects Inc v. Meta Platforms Inc, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, No. 23-1097.