As a part of its 2015 end-of-year coverage, Law360 singled out two Shook cases in December 24 Law360 articles, titled, “Automotive Cases To Watch In 2016” and “Patent Cases To Watch In 2016.”
The first deals with litigation against 11 automobile manufacturers alleging that a flaw in the design of keyless fob systems has led to 13 deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning. Shook Partners Bill Sampson, Amir Nassihi and Kevin Underhill represent Nissan North America Inc. in the litigation. Keyless ignition systems can remotely start car engines; they cannot remotely turn them off. Plaintiffs claim that reasonable drivers misunderstand the “start-only” systems, which can lead to drivers leaving cars running in garages and filling their homes with carbon monoxide.
The second involves patent eligibility in the field of software inventions. Shook partners Trent Webb and John Garretson and of counsel Beth Larigan represent Naughty Dog Inc., Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC and Sucker Punch Productions LLC in the litigation. Since the U.S. Supreme Court held in 2014 that abstract ideas implemented using a computer are not patent-eligible (Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International), hundreds of software patents have been invalidated. In McRo Inc. v. Bandai Namco Games America Inc., the Federal Circuit has the opportunity to further define patent eligibility, which could help create guidelines for other cases.