Since the US Supreme Court issued its decision in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods Group Brands, RPX has seen an upswing in venue-related filings by both plaintiffs and defendants—with indications that some NPEs may be throwing in the towel on Texas, while others are seemingly digging in. Defendants have also begun to adapt their defensive strategies, asserting more comprehensive interpretations of the patent venue statute and proactively maintaining their right to bring venue challenges down the road.
Last Monday, the US Supreme Court’s TC Heartlanddecision returned a key portion of the patent venue statue, one that allows infringement suits to be brought where a defendant corporation “resides”, to its prior interpretation: such a defendant “resides” only in its state of incorporation. Three days later, two February cases filed in Delaware by Inventergy, Inc. and controlled by Fortress Investment Group LLC, one each against Apple and HTC, were voluntarily dismissed without prejudice. Fortress refiled those two suits, accusing Apple (2:17-cv-03738) and HTC (2:17-cv-03740) of infringing the same seven mobile telecommunications patents (6,466,563; 6,611,676; 6,760,590; 7,206,587; 7,760,815; 7,764,711; 7,848,439), but this time in New Jersey. Fortress did so through an entity (INVT SPE LLC) that it had created in March and with much more specific allegations supporting its contention that venue is proper in New Jersey.
A couple of months after amending its October 2014 agreement with Fortress Investment Group LLC, Inventergy, Inc. has kicked off its first litigation campaign to assert patents that it received from Panasonic in December 2013. Two new cases, one each against Apple (1:17-cv-00196) and HTC (1:17-cv-00200), allege infringement of seven patents (6,466,563; 6,611,676; 6,760,590; 7,206,587; 7,760,815; 7,764,711; 7,848,439) through the manufacture and sale of mobile phones and tablets that use the mandatory portions of various mobile communications standards. Inventergy’s publicly traded parent (Inventergy Global, Inc.) has indicated in SEC filings that, under the “Restructuring Agreement”, Fortress has “the sole discretion to make any and all decisions relating to [Inventergy’s] patents and patent monetization activities” with certain exclusions.