Raniere v. Microsoft Corp., No. 17-1400 (Fed. Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
In 1995, Raniere assigned all rights in the five patents to GTI. Raniere is not listed on GTI’s incorporation documents as an officer, director, or shareholder. GTI dissolved in 1996. In 2014, Raniere executed a document on behalf of GTI, as its “sole owner,” purportedly transferring the patents to himself. Raniere subsequently sued Microsoft and AT&T for infringement, identifying himself as the patents’ owner. Microsoft moved to dismiss for lack of standing, noting that the PTO’s records indicated that Raniere did not own the patents. Raniere produced documents that, according to the court, failed to indicate that Raniere had an ownership interest in GTI at any time or had the right to assign the patents. Raniere obtained documents from an attorney, showing the GTI shareholders’ consent to a transfer of shares from Raniere’s ex-girlfriend (75% owner of GTI) to Raniere. The documents did not indicate that any transfer was completed and did not establish that Raniere owned the patents. The district court held a hearing, found that Raniere’s testimony contradicted Raniere’s earlier representation that the shares had already been transferred and was “wholly incredible and untruthful,” concluded that Raniere was unlikely to be able to cure the standing defect, dismissed the case, and found that Raniere’s conduct demonstrated “a clear history of delay and contumacious conduct.” The Federal Circuit affirmed the dismissal and a subsequent award of prevailing parties attorney fees and costs, 35 U.S.C. 285.