Amazon Seeks Declaratory Judgement to Protect Best Buy from Patent Infringement Suit

Amazon filed a Complaint for Declaratory Judgment (Amazon.Com, Inc. v. Corydoras Technologies, LLC 1:19-cv-01095) on November 11, which they frame as an action to protect their customer, Best Buy, from meritless lawsuits. The suit comes in response to Corydoras Technologies, which sued over patent infringements in Amazon’s Fire Series tablets (Corydoras Techs. LLC v. Best Buy Co., Inc., and Best Buy Stores, L.P.).  Amazon’s request for a Declaratory Judgment was filed in the Western District of Texas, whereas the original suit was filed in the Eastern District of Texas.

The complaint accused Corydoras of using a known strategy based in in terrorem to gain a settlement from a retailer who is ill-equipped to defend the claim pertaining to a third party manufacturer’s product. The suit asserted that the dispute about whether Amazon’s products infringe on Corydoras’s patents must be dealt with under the Declaratory Judgment alone, further stating that the Fire Series tablets do not infringe on Corydoras’s patents. It stressed that Federal Circuit law maintains that the upstream entity – in this case, Amazon – must be allowed to defend its own technology. The suit further established Amazon’s right to Declaratory Judgment by stating that “Corydoras ’s infringement allegations directly implicate Amazon and its technology” and that Amazon has a substantial interest in any patent infringement claims regarding their products. The complaint quotes Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Releasomers, Inc. that “[T]he purpose of the Declaratory Judgment Case Act . . . in patent cases is to provide the allegedly infringing party relief from uncertainty and delay regarding its legal rights.”

The complaint established that Best Buy’s only connection to the Fire Series tablets is distributing the products at their stores and on their website and clarifies that Best Buy had no input on the design of the tablets. In the original suit, Corydoras alleged the Best Buy’s use and sale of the Amazon products infringes on Corydoras U.S. Patents 7,778,664 (the “’664 Patent”) , 7,945,256 (the “’256 Patent”), 7,996,037 (the “’037 Patent”), 8,024,009 (the “’009 Patent”), and 8,731,540 (the “’540 Patent”) which are all patents for a communication device and a continuation of application No. 10/251.579.  The Request for Declaratory Judgement stated that Amazon has not infringed on any of the listed patents both in regard to the Amazon Fire Series tablets and otherwise. It directly addresses several of the specific functions, modes, and devices in question from Claim 1 of the Patent Suit in order to establish that these items are not contained in the Fire Series tablets.   

Amazon is seeking declaratory relief for all of the listed patents under the Declaratory Judgement Act, as well as an injunction against Corydoras for further infringement claims on the listed patents. The only monetary request is for the costs and fees for Amazon’s attorneys. Amazon is being represented by the law firms Shelton Coburn and Fenwick & West. In the original matter of the patent infringement case Corydoras is being represented by Elliott & Polasek.