Trading Technologies Int’l, Inc. v. eSpeed, Inc., No. 04 C 5312, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Aug. 16, 2007) (Moran, Sen. J.).*

Judge Moran granted in part plaintiff Trading Technologies’ (“TT”) motion for summary judgment regarding prior use and denied defendant eSpeed’s cross motion for summary judgment. TT argued for a March 2, 1999 critical date (one year before the March 2, 2000 filing of TT’s related provisional application). eSpeed argued that the provisional application did not fully describe the patented invention and that, therefore, the critical date was June 9, 1999 (one year before filing of TT’s parent application). The Court held that whether the provision application met the written description requirements was a question of fact for the jury. The Court, therefore, determined this summary judgment motion in the alternative, either if the jury found a March 2 or a June 9 critical date. eSpeed argued that various uses of TT’s software before March 2 constituted public use because trades were either completely or partially performed to test the software. But the Court held that this use of the software was only experimental and done solely for the purpose of making sure the software functioned properly. The trades that were initiated during the testing were canceled prior to completion, except in several discreet incidents where the users testified that they had intended to cancel the trades but forgot. eSpeed also argued that the software was reduced to practice before March 2. But the Court held that the software was not reduced to practice until March 2 based upon the developers’ testimony that they did not believe the software was fully functioning and were still testing it prior to March 2. The Court, therefore, granted TT summary judgment for pre-March 2 use of the software. 

The Court held that the March 2 to June 9 alleged use was a question of fact for the jury. eSpeed’s email, video and trading record evidence for the March 2 to June 9 period might constitute public use, but a question of fact remained.

Trial started in this case the week of September 10. Expect to see several more opinions in this case and its related cases (there are two weighty summary judgment opinions still in my queue, as well as several other smaller opinions and orders). Additionally, I have some other obligations, but am planning to blog some of the trial. Stay tuned.

*You can read much more about this case and related cases in the Blog’s archives.