News & Events

Bunsow De Mory Defeats Patent Ineligibility Motion on Behalf of Vineyard Investigations in Ongoing Lawsuit Against E. & J. Gallo Winery

Jan 4, 2021 | News

(Redwood City) – Bunsow De Mory is pleased to announce that it has defeated a motion to dismiss client Vineyard Investigations’ patent infringement lawsuit against E. & J. Gallo Winery.  In a decision issued today, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California denied Gallo’s motion, finding that the asserted patents are not directed to abstract concepts under the analysis set forth by the Supreme Court in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank, 573 U.S. 208 (2014), and are indeed patent eligible.

Vineyard Investigations is owned and led by Dr. Paul Skinner, a prominent soil scientist, viticulturalist, winemaker, and inventor.  Vineyard Investigations hired Bunsow De Mory to enforce a portfolio of patents related to systems and methods for intelligent control of irrigation and chemical delivery in vineyards and fields.  Dr. Skinner’s inventions, developed years before others understood the potential of the technology, use fine-grained control and a variety of advanced data sources to address variability, enabling dramatic increases in yield and fruit quality, while decreasing the amount of water required.

Motions to dismiss alleging abstractness and patent ineligibility under section 101 have become ubiquitous, even for patents like these that practically have the smell of the soil and plants on them.  The district court’s denial of this tactic here provides an important validation of Dr. Skinner’s inventions and his efforts to obtain patents on them.  The litigation against Gallo, as well as other enforcement efforts, remain ongoing.  Bunsow De Mory attorneys celebrated this early success with some of their client’s excellent Four Soils Cabernet Sauvignon.

Read more about this decision at Law360. You can also read the district court’s decision here.

Vineyard Investigations’ lawsuit against Gallo has previously been covered in the legal and wine industry press.

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