Innovative Display Technologies LLC
- Related to Parent Entity Acacia Research Corporation
Litigations for Innovative Display Technologies LLC
Patent Information for Innovative Display Technologies LLC
Petitions for Innovative Display Technologies LLC
Acacia’s Revenue Soars, and WiLAN’s Slumps, in Q3 2016
November 10, 2016
In the third quarter of last year, Wi-LAN, Inc. joined Acacia Research Corporation to become one of the two most active publicly traded NPEs in patent litigation (among the over 20 publicly traded NPEs that RPX monitors). But while Acacia and WiLAN have continued to share that distinction over the past year, according to the NPEs’ recent earnings reports, they ended Q3 2016 with markedly different overall results.
Acacia announced its Q3 2016 earnings on October 23, reporting revenue of $64.7M, up from $12.9M during the same quarter last year. Net income for the third quarter was $7.9M, compared to a loss of $27.3M in Q3 2015, and cash and cash equivalents totaled $160.3M as of September 30, 2016.
During the third quarter, Acacia disclosed patent license and settlement agreements with ASUS and ZTE, and according to the NPE’s October 23 earnings call, the quarter also included “a series of licensing transactions involving patent portfolios” from Nokia, Renesas, Silicon Image, ST Micro, and VoiceAge. CEO Marvin Key also discussed what he called a “soft license”, or a license reached “with no litigation of any kind”, with SK Hynix. While the terms of the Q3 licenses were not disclosed, Acacia reported that two licensees individually accounted for 50% and 27% of revenue in the quarter.
Acacia also reported acquiring two patent portfolios in the third quarter: one from Renesas, described as relating to power management, system-on-chip system architecture, and device manufacturing processes; and one from an undisclosed “major Japanese semiconductor company”, which Acacia says includes patents related to DRAM and flash memory circuits and manufacturing processes.
Acacia’s litigation and licensing expenses decreased in Q3 2016, down $9.6M compared to the $10.9M it spent in 2015. The NPE did not launch any new litigation campaigns in the third quarter, and only one of its subsidiaries—Innovative Display Technologies LLC (IDT)—initiated new patent litigation. Acacia currently has several trials on calendar in its IDT campaign (asserting patents acquired from Solid State Opto), including one against LG Electronics in December, and two in the first quarter of 2017 against Lenovo and VIZIO (in February and March, respectively). Also in March 2017, in its Saint Lawrence Communications LLC campaign (involving patents received from VoiceAge), trials against Motorola Mobility and ZTE have been set. In its Parthenon Unified Memory Architecture LLC campaign (asserting former STMicroelectronics patents), a trial against Apple had been scheduled to begin on November 7, but appears to have been stayed.
In September, in a trial against Apple, a jury in the Eastern District of Texas awarded Acacia’s Cellular Communications Equipment LLC subsidiary $22M in damages. (See here for details.) However, the NPE’s revenue recognized in Q3 did not include that award.
WiLAN announced its Q3 2016 earnings on November 3, reporting revenue of $16.6M, down from $21.4M in the same quarter last year. Net income for the quarter was $0.7M, compared to $0.8M in Q3 2015, and cash and cash equivalents totaled $103.2M as of September 30, 2016.
While CEO Jim Skippen reported “progress on both acquisitions and licensing” during the third quarter, the NPE did not close any licenses that materially affected revenue, according to WiLAN’s November 3 press release. In his call with investors, Skippen emphasized the NPE’s refusal to “take deals simply to bolster a quarter if a deal does not represent fair value to WiLAN”. In comparison, in Q3 2015, WiLAN disclosed 11 new licenses.
Like Acacia, WiLAN’s litigation expenses decreased in Q3, totaling $0.7M compared to $1.7M last year. In contrast to Acacia, however, WiLAN steadily filed litigation through the third quarter, initiating a new litigation campaign (see here for details) and filing over a dozen new infringement suits through its North Star Innovations Inc., Improved Search LLC, and Smart Wearable Technologies, Inc. subsidiaries.
Since November 2015, WiLAN’s North Star Innovations has sued more than 20 companies over patents acquired from Freescale—a deal that, according to the NPE, included over 3,300 patents. Active defendants in North Star’s multiple litigation campaigns include Amazon, Fujitsu, GoPro, HP, HTC, Microsoft, Polycom, Nanya, Sharp, Sony, Texas Instruments, and Toshiba.
WiLAN’s executives did not indicate in its November 3 earnings call whether the NPE anticipates any trials to take place in the coming quarters.
RPX periodically reports on the performance and activities of publicly traded NPEs, including Acacia and WiLAN. The company’s most recent Public PAE Report, covering Q2 2016, can be accessed here.
On December 30, 2015, Acacia subsidiaries Innovative Display Technologies LLC (IDT) and Delaware Display Group LLC (DDG) filed new cases against Lenovo (1:15-cv-01220), LG Electronics (1:15-cv-01221), and VIZIO (1:15-cv-01222). Each case asserts three patents (7,384,177; 7,404,660; 7,434,973) that the NPEs were forced to drop in related cases, also active in the District of Delaware. In October, Judge Richard Andrews agreed to stay those related cases entirely unless IDT/DDG agreed to drop, without prejudice, its claims of infringement as to the ‘177, ‘660, and ‘973 patents, each of which is subject to an instituted inter partes review (IPR) based on petitions filed by LG (IPR2015-00489 (‘177 patent), IPR2015-00487 (‘660 patent), IPR2015-00506 (‘973 patent)). IDT/DDG dropped those patents from the earlier cases, Judge Andrews denied the motion to stay, the earlier cases proceeded, and IDT/DDG has now filed these separate actions for infringement. In their complaints, the NPEs expressly agree to stays of the new cases pending resolution of the instituted IPRs.
The latest wave of patent infringement suits filed by Acacia subsidiaries Innovative Display Technologies (IDT) and Delaware Display Group (DDG) targeted AT&T (2:14-cv-00720), Sprint (2:14-cv-00721), T-Mobile (2:14-cv-00723), and Verizon (2:14-cv-00722). Each suit asserts at least seven of a group of eight patents related to LCD components (6,755,547; 7,300,194; 7,384,177; 7,404,660; 7,434,974; 7,537,370; 7,914,196; 8,215,816). The complaints accuse defendants’ mobile phones and tablets with a liquid crystal display of infringing the asserted patents. According to plaintiffs, some of the accused products are manufactured by Samsung; however, the allegations of infringement with regard to Samsung products are limited to only those manufactured after March 2, 2014.
Innovative Display Technologies (IDT) continues to find new targets for its campaign asserting patents related to LCD components. Its newest suit is against Google and asserts eight of the 19 patents that have been used in the campaign (5,613,751, 6,755,547, 7,300,194, 7,384,177, 7,404,660, 7,434,974, 7,537,370, 8,215,816). The campaign by the Acacia subsidiary has been targeting devices with a LCD screen and in this filing Google’s tablets and smartphones are the accused products. Almost 30 cases have been filed since IDT began asserting these patents in litigation almost a year ago. The asserted patents originated with Solid State Opto and were transferred to Rambus in 2009, then assigned to Acacia in March 2013. At this point the campaign has targeted most major smartphone and tablet makers, including Apple, Acer, Blackberry, Dell, HP, LG, Nokia, and Sony. 4/8, Eastern District of Texas, 2:14cv00302
Innovative Display Technology, an Acacia Research subsidiary, filed six new suits naming BMW, Canon, Garmin, MiTAC, Nikon, and TomTom as defendants. A total of fifteen patents are involved in the new filings (6,079,838, 6,508,563, 6,755,547, 6,886,956, 7,160,015, 7,165,873, 7,300,194, 7,384,177, 7,404,660, 7,434,974, 7,537,370, 7,736,043, 7,963,687, 8,142,063, 8,215,816). The asserted patents relate to lighting technology used in LCD screens and were acquired from Rambus. 2/21, Eastern District of Texas, 2:14cv00106, 2/26, Eastern District of Texas, 2:14cv00142, 2:14cv00143, 2:14cv00144, 2/27, Eastern District of Texas, 2:14cv00145, 2:14cv00146
New Acacia subsidiary Delaware Display Group (DDG), along with co-plaintiff Innovative Display Technologies (IDT), filed its first seven litigations to close out 2013. IDT, another Acacia subsidiary, began its litigation campaign in June 2013 asserting a group of seven patents related to light emitting panel assemblies used in LCDs (6,755,547; 7,300,194; 7,384,177; 7,404,660; 7,434,974; 7,537,370; 8,215,816). The new suits are closely related to those previous filings, asserting the same seven patents along with an eighth patent, owned by DDG, that relates to a backlight system (7,914,196). Defendants Amazon, HTC, Lenovo, LG, Pantech, Sony, and VIZIO all make products using displays that are alleged to infringe the patents-in-suit, including laptops, smartphones, and tablets. The litigated patents were previously owned by Rambus and transferred to Acacia in March 2013. The seven previously asserted patents are owned by IDT but DDG owns the ‘196 patent, according to the complaints. 12/31, District of Delaware, 1:13cv02106, 1:13cv02107, 1:13cv02108, 1:13cv02109, 1:13cv02110, 1:13cv02111, 1:13cv02112