“In creating inter partes reviews, Congress intended to provide [a] quick and cost effective alternative to litigation in the courts . . . It also created an unconstitutional one” (internal citations omitted). So begins the appellate brief filed in April by Rovi Guides, Inc., a subsidiary of TiVo Corporation. Rovi has appealed (2019-1215) the cancellation of claims from one of its “remote interactive program guide” patents by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). The company brings a constitutional challenge to this PTAB authority, arguing that because Administrative Patent Judges (APJs) hired to adjudicate inter partes reviews (IPRs) “have the authority to render a final decision on behalf of the United States, without review by any higher executive-branch official”, they are “principal officers” who must be appointed by the US President and confirmed by the US Senate. Earlier this month, the US Department of Justice (USDOJ) filed a notice of intervention in the appeal, the Federal Circuit lifted a temporary stay to await word of the government’s intentions, and that court set a deadline for the USDOJ’s brief on the same day that the brief of appellee and IPR petitioner Comcast is due.
On November 21, the International Trade Commission (ITC) issued its final determination in the investigation that began with a complaint filed by TiVo (f/k/a Rovi Corporation) against Comcast (337-TA-1001), among others. The Commission affirmed the determination of Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) David P. Shaw that Comcast’s customers directly infringe two of TiVo’s patents, which are characterized as generally related to “interactive television guide programs that operate on local devices, such as a set-top box, and remote devices, such as a laptop or mobile phone”, thereby establishing a Section 337 violation as to Comcast’s X1 set-top boxes. The Commission issued limited exclusion and cease-and-desist orders commensurate with this conclusion, orders that would remain in place during any appeal, absent a settlement between the parties.
Recently formed Texas NPE Paluxy Messaging, LLC has initiated a first litigation campaign with new cases filed against 8×8 (6:16-cv-01346), Longview Cable Television (6:16-cv-01345), Nextiva (6:16-cv-01348), and ShoreTel (6:16-cv-01350). Paluxy asserts a single patent (8,411,829) generally related to a messaging system that separately transmits copies of recorded messages. The NPE accuses the defendants of infringement through provision of their voicemail services. The ‘829 patent has five named inventors, one of whom, James D. Logan, is a prolific inventor whose patents have been the subject of high-profile past litigation, including the long-running Personal Audio LLCcampaign. Public filings in connection with an appeal to the New Hampshire Supreme Court from Logan’s divorce decree indicate that his now second ex-wife, Caren, has been awarded, through a separate patent stipulation, a percentage interest in Logan’s patent holdings through the companies that own them.