With the recent imposition of sanctions in a set of cases before District Judge Rodney Gilstrap no deterrent, another NPE managed by Nicolas J. Labbit, and therefore apparently controlled by California attorney Brian Yates, has kicked off a new litigation campaign. Selective Signals, LLC has filed separate suits against Fortinet (6:17-cv-00064), Palo Alto Networks (6:17-cv-00065), Rohde & Schwartz (6:17-cv-00066), and WatchGuard Technologies (6:17-cv-00067), each of which asserts a single patent (8,111,629) not seen before in litigation. The ‘629 patent generally relates to identifying whether passing packets belong to a particular media session, and the complaints target the defendants’ network security appliances.
District Judge Rodney Gilstrap has imposed $355K in attorney fees and costs on Iris Connex, LLC, ruling that the Texas-based NPE had pursued such an objectively meritless case against defendant Dell (2:15-cv-01915) that the lawsuit was exceptional under Octane. In a 57-page opinion issued on January 25, Judge Gilstrap also ordered attorney Brian Yates to pay Dell $152K in sanctions, ruling that he had abused the corporate form by controlling the Iris Connex campaign through shell company Q Patents, Inc., failed to disclose that entity as the NPE’s parent, and then acted in bad faith in his further attempts at concealing that relationship. Finally, Judge Gilstrap imposed sanctions on Craig Tadlock, Iris Connex’s counsel, requiring him to pay $25K to the court for advancing a wholly implausible claim construction argument.
RPX took note of several patent asset transfers to NPEs recorded during the second half of December 2016. Assignees included Texas NPE Synergy Drone LLC, Nevada NPE Jonker LLC, and Delaware NPE Empire Technology Development LLC, and the named inventors on the different patent assets form an eclectic bunch.
During the second half of October 2016, RPX took note of eight patent transfers to NPEs. Assignees included two NPEs controlled by Monument Patent Holdings, LLC; a new NPE managed by IP Valuation Partners LLC; and an NPE with apparent ties to Nicolas J. Labbit. Several of the transacted patents have been asserted in litigation filed over the past month.
On the heels of its formation in California just two weeks ago, Soteria Encryption, LLC has launched litigation, filing suit against AOK Group (2:16-cv-07947), Apricorn (2:16-cv-07948), BNL Technologies (2:16-cv-07949), Corsair Components (2:16-cv-07950), Data Locker (2:16-cv-07955), Global Silicon Electric (2:16-cv-07956), Lenovo (2:16-cv-07958), and RocStorage (2:16-cv-07960). A single patent (7,069,447), generally related to a data storage device used in conjunction with a “host computer”, is asserted in the campaign, with the accused products being various drives (i.e. flash drives, portable hard drives, etc.) sold by the defendants. These new lawsuits are not the first to assert the ‘477 patent in litigation.
Eight companies have been named as defendants in separate complaints recently filed by Texas NPE Jakuta Diodes, LLC: automakers Ford (6:16-cv-01177), GM (6:16-cv-01180), and Honda (6:16-cv-01178); and lighting product manufacturers Acuity Brands (6:16-cv-01175), Cree (6:16-cv-01176), LED Engin (6:16-cv-01181), Soraa (6:16-cv-01179), and TeledyneReynolds (6:16-cv-01182). The new complaints assert a single patent (6,079,854) generally related to devices and methods for diffusing light. The automakers are accused of infringement through the sale and import of motor vehicles with certain LED headlamps, while the other defendant s are accused of infringement through the sale of certain LED lighting products. (In what appears to be an errant cut-and-paste, Soraa is also accused of infringement through the import of motor vehicles.) Jakuta Diodes is one of many Texas NPEs formed over the past 18 months under the management of attorney Nicolas J. Labbit.