A judge in Manhattan signaled an abrupt end last week to a patent litigation campaign against a huge swath of the financial services industry. In a wide-ranging 48-page opinion issued on Sept. 24, Southern District Judge Katherine Forrest (See Profile) granted summary judgment to various defendants in a group of more than 20 stock exchanges, banks and data providers accused by RealTime Data LLC of infringing its patents relating to a method of compressing market data.
RealTime first brought a wave of complaints in federal district court in Tyler, Texas, in 2009, alleging infringement of hundreds of claims of five patents relating to a data compression standard called “FIX Adapted for Streaming,” or FAST, which is widely used by financial institutions to communicate market data. The defendants immediately asked the judge first assigned to the consolidated cases, Leonard Davis, to transfer them to Manhattan. Davis declined, but he was overruled by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which decided that Manhattan was the more convenient forum.
By the time the defendants had filed a barrage of summary judgment motions in July, RealTime’s infringement case had been winnowed to about 25 patent claims. Forrest ruled that, for every claim of each patent, there is at least one ground for a finding of non-infringement. For some of the claims, she pointed to multiple reasons why the defendants didn’t infringe. The case appears to be effectively over at the trial court level, although Forrest, anticipating an appeal, has asked the parties whether they want her to rule on some still-pending motions. The case is RealTime Data v. Morgan Stanley, 11-cv-6696.