iPEL, Inc., the patent licensing firm launched earlier this year by patent attorney Brian Yates, announced on November 28 that it has doubled its capital, bringing the total raised to $200M. In the same press release, the firm warned that “several dozens” of new lawsuits will be filed in China within the week against at least four companies, some with “prominent ‘household’ names”. iPEL reports having filed ten patent infringement suits to date in China, all against ASUS; the lawsuits were filed in October in the specialized IP courts and tribunals of Beijing, Nanjing, and Xi’an.
On October 9, iPEL, Inc., the patent licensing firm launched by patent attorney Brian Yates earlier this year, announced the filing of ten infringement suits against ASUS in China. According to a press release issued by iPEL, the lawsuits were filed in the specialized IP courts and tribunals of Beijing, Nanjing, and Xi’an. This appears to be the start of iPEL’s expected enforcement campaign in Asia, the approach of which RPXpredicted back in June.
The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) saw activity in August 2018 involving a variety of frequent litigants. This included petitions for inter partes review (IPR) filed against two NPEs controlled by Fortress Investment Group LLC, INVT SPE LLC and Uniloc 2017 LLC, the latter of which has in recent months cofiled a barrage of lawsuits with subsidiaries of Australian NPE Uniloc Corporation Pty. Limited (Uniloc). The PTAB also instituted trial in August for IPRs against Uniloc 2017 and some of its campaign coplaintiffs, and in an IPR against an NPE controlled by patent attorney Brian Yates, whose US litigation has waned as he pursues a new patent licensing initiative through his company iPEL, Inc. Finally, the PTAB issued final decisions in August for IPRs against Uniloc, Empire IP LLC, and Quarterhill Inc.
Last year, RPXreported that patent attorney Brian Yates—who oversaw NPEs filing more than 500 patent infringement suits in 2015-2016—had formed a new entity, iPEL, Inc., and entered into a financing deal with a private credit manager. Since then, RPX has pointed readers to a number of notable acquisitions by Yates, including from Panasonic and ZTE. Yates has now publicly launched his iPEL business, and while particular attention is being paid to its licensing model, perhaps more interesting is iPEL’s Chinese patent portfolio—the size of which suggests that an enforcement campaign in Asia might be coming.
The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) saw the number of petitions for AIA review in November hold fairly steady at 111 (compared to October’s 128) as the US Supreme Court continued its review of the constitutionality of inter partes review (IPR) in Oil States v. Greene’s Energy Services, for which oral arguments were held on November 27. Among the NPEs targeted by petitions brought in November were publicly traded Quarterhill Inc. and Xperi Corporation, prolific litigant Brian Yates, and several privately held NPEs waging networking campaigns, including Alacritech, Inc.; Iridescent Networks, Inc.; Monument Patent Holdings, LLC; MyMail Ltd.; and Oyster Optics LLC. The PTAB also instituted trial in November for other IPRs against Alacritech and Quarterhill and for an IPR against Plectrum LLC. Final decisions issued by the Board in November include one in the automotive campaign waged by Paice LLC and in IPRs against InfoGation Corporation and VoIP-Pal.com, Inc., both of which saw their patents survive review.
Interface Linx, LLC has dismissed seven of the eight cases that it filed this past April in the Central District of California in favor of new cases filed against the same seven defendants in Delaware—DEI Holdings (Denon Electronics, Marantz, Polk Audio, Sound United d/b/a Definitive Technologies) (1:17-cv-01102), Haier Group (1:17-cv-01098), Inkel (Sherwood) (1:17-cv-01101), ONKYO (1:17-cv-01099), Pioneer (1:17-cv-01100), TCL (1:17-cv-01103), and VOXX (Invision Automotive Systems, Kilpsh Group) (1:17-cv-01104). The NPE again asserts a single patent, generally related to a particular electrical connector assembly, in each of the new Delaware cases, and that same patent remains asserted in the sole lawsuit left active back in California, against Hisense (2:17-cv-03193). HDMI plugs and receptacles provided on a range of electronic devices, from smart TVs and network amplifiers to speakers and multipurpose receivers, remain the accused products.