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Bunsow De Mory Secures Denials of Two IPR Petitions on Behalf of Vineyard Investigations

May 11, 2021 | News

Bunsow De Mory is pleased to announce that it has secured two wins at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board on behalf of Vineyard Investigations. In recent decisions, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board denied institution of two inter partes review petitions filed by E. & J. Gallo Winery in an attempt to invalidate U.S. Patents 8,528,834 and 6,947,810 assigned to Vineyard Investigations.

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.

In October of 2019, Bunsow De Mory brought a lawsuit on behalf of Vineyard Investigations against Gallo in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. Two days before its statutory deadline to do so, Gallo served Inter Partes Review (IPR) petitions challenging the asserted patents. Bunsow De Mory responded, arguing that the petitions were cumulative of arguments already considered and rejected by the Patent Office before the patents were granted, and failed to meet the standard for institution of Inter Partes Review.

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board agreed and denied Gallo’s bid to invalidate U.S. Patents 8,528,834 and 6,947,810. In so doing, it found that the petitions failed to demonstrate a reasonable likelihood of prevailing with respect to any of the claims challenged. The district court litigation against Gallo, as well as other enforcement efforts, remain ongoing. Bunsow De Mory attorneys celebrated their success before the Board with some of their client’s well-aged Dry Creek Zinfandel and newly-released Aglianico.

You can read the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s decisions here: IPR2021-00077 (6,947,810); IPR2021-00076 (8,528,834).

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