RPX Weekly Newsletter

An Update on Patent Litigation, the Patent Marketplace, and New Cases

Monday, October 8, 2018

Patent Litigation Feature

September PTAB Activity Includes Validity Challenges in Wireless and Mobile Device Campaigns

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) saw activity in AIA reviews against a variety of familiar plaintiffs in September, including validity challenges brought in campaigns targeting wireless communications technology and mobile devices. Among the NPEs hit with petitions for inter partes review (IPR) in September were Intellectual Ventures LLC, which continues to pursue its existing litigation as it divests other parts of its portfolio; and entities controlled by Fortress Investment Group LLC and Uniloc Corporation Pty. Limited, both of which have kept up a barrage of new litigation asserting former Pendrell Corporation patents. Also in September, the PTAB instituted trial in IPRs against Quarterhill Inc. and an NPE related to PanOptis Equity Holdings LLC, and issued final decisions against private plaintiffs including General Patent Corporation.

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Patent Watch

Q3 Sees Flurry of IP Edge Filings

IP Edge LLC, which RPX data shows has cumulatively added more defendants to patent lawsuits than any other plaintiff since 2000, was relatively quiet during the first two quarters of 2018. Q3, however, saw an uptick in IP Edge activity, with various affiliates launching five new campaigns targeting a wide range of technologies.

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New Patent Litigation

Fortress-Uniloc Assertion of Former Pendrell Patents Continues Apace

The filing spree of Uniloc Corporation Pty. Limited continues unabated after handing over the reins of its monetization efforts to Fortress Investment Group LLC earlier this year. Last week alone, plaintiffs related to these entities jointly filed a new suit against Apple in the Western District of Texas, one against Cisco, two against Hike, and four against Alphabet (Google) (2:18-cv-00423), all in the Eastern District of Texas. Since its acquisition of a large portfolio from Pendrell Corporation subsidiary Pendragon Wireless LLC this past January, Uniloc has been filing new lawsuits on nearly a weekly basis over those patents, on its own, before its transfer of over 600 US patent assets to Fortress in May, and together with Fortress since. That shift in patent ownership came as Fortress announced a new, $400M IP fund focused on patent assertion.

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American Patents Doubles Its Campaign Asserting Assets Acquired from IV

Following a first wave of filings in late September, hitting Huawei, LG Electronics (LGE), Samsung, and ZTE, American Patents LLC doubled its campaign during the first week of October with four separate suits against Acer, ASUS, HP, and OnePlus. The patents-in-campaign, which generally relate to communications networking, were acquired from Intellectual Ventures LLC (IV) in June and were each developed by a major operating company or university. The new defendants are accused of infringement through provision of devices (including laptops and smartphones) offering Google’s Chromecast streaming and keyboards with predictive text features and other features related to keyboard layout. All the campaign defendants, apart from LGE and Samsung, are also alleged to infringe through their accused devices’ support of Wi-Fi and/or cellular connectivity.

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IPVal Affiliate Asserts a Part of Its New Portfolio, Received from IV, in New Social Media/Search Campaign

Monetization firm IPValuation Partners LLC (d/b/a IPVal) has launched yet another litigation campaign over patents that one of its affiliates recently acquired from Intellectual Ventures LLC (IV). On June 6-7 of this year, a total of 16 US patent assets were assigned to Corrino Holdings LLC, which has now filed suit against Facebook (2:18-cv-08541), FourSquare Labs (2:18-cv-08544), Instagram (2:18-cv-08546), and Snap (2:18-cv-08548) over subsets of those assets. The asserted patents comprise three families, with infringement allegations focused on features of the defendants’ platforms that serve users information based on location, provide users metrics on site usage, and process user search requests. Corrino’s receipt of four other patent families suggests that more litigation from this IPVal affiliate may be coming.

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VR Platforms Targeted with Previously Litigated Patent Family

Motiva Patents, LLC, an NPE formed in Texas earlier this year, has picked up the assertion of a family of patents from an Ohio entity controlled by their named inventors. The patents generally relate to providing a user feedback based on a wireless device tracking that user’s movement, with the new suits targeting virtual reality systems provided by Facebook (9:18-cv-00178) (Oculus Rift + Touch), HTC (9:18-cv-00179) (Vive, Vive Pro, and Vive BE), and Sony (9:18-cv-00180) (Playstation VR). Motiva Patents pleads current ownership of the patents-in-suit; their original assignee, Motiva LLC, litigated the earliest of them unsuccessfully against Nintendo in district court and before the International Trade Commission (ITC).

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IPVal’s Bicameral Launches Semiconductor Campaign with Patents Assigned from IV

Bicameral LLC, an affiliate of Texas monetization firm IPValuation Partners LLC (d/b/a IPVal), has filed its first lawsuit, accusing NXP Semiconductors (6:18-cv-00294) of infringing five patents received as part of a larger portfolio assigned from Intellectual Ventures LLC (IV) to the NPE in two transactions this past January. The asserted patents were originally developed across various operating companies—Conexant, SRI International, TranSwitch, and Xerox—and the accused products also cover a range of categories, including RFID readers to digital accelerometers. Bicameral joins several other IPVal affiliates to assert in litigation patents recently received from IV.

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Traxcell Hits HMD and Repeat Defendants Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia in New Complaint

Inventor-controlled Traxcell Technologies, LLC has filed another round of litigation against Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia, targeting both companies in a single Texas complaint that also names codefendant HMD (2:18-cv-00412). The complaint alleges the infringement of three patents, two of which the NPE added to the campaign in an August complaint against Huawei (2:18-cv-00354), which was also sued in the campaign’s first wave of litigation in January 2017 along with Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia. At issue in Traxcell’s latest complaint are the defendants’ smartphones as used with cellular data networks (including those operated by AT&T,  Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon, each which the NPE previously sued in October 2017) to show the devices’ location on a map using the Google Maps app.

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Mobile Card Readers Targeted in New IPVal Campaign

MobilePay LLC, an affiliate of IPValuation Partners, LLC (IPVal), has kicked off a new litigation campaign, filing separate lawsuits against Bank of America (2:18-cv-00413) and Intuit (2:18-cv-00413) in the Eastern District of Texas and against Mindbody (6:18-cv-00286) and PayPal (6:18-cv-00287) in the Western District of Texas. The plaintiff targets the defendants’ provision of mobile card readers with a single patent generally related to coupling a credit card reader with a mobile device.

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New NPE Sues Amazon over Text Synchronization on Mobile Devices

TrackTime, LLC has filed its first lawsuit, suing Amazon (Audible) (1:18-cv-01518) over two patents generally related to generating and displaying on a mobile device a “synchronization index” providing text for audio from a multimedia file. The NPE is apparently backed by the sole named inventor of the asserted patents. TrackTime accuses first Amazon alone, and in the alternative Amazon and Audible jointly, of infringement through the provision of “software and applications supporting X-Ray Lyrics and/or X-Ray Music functionality, including but not limited to its ‘Amazon Music’ software application” and through the provision of its Amazon Kindle software and applications “supporting features referred to by Amazon as ‘Whispersync for Voice,’ ‘Kindle Books with Audible Narration,’ and/or ‘Immersion Reading’”. The plaintiff pleads extensively in support of its allegation that Amazon and/or Audible have been aware of the patents-in-suit, as applications before and as patents after issuance in October 2014.

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Inventors Launch Two Campaigns, One Targeting Power-Saving Mobile Device Displays and the Other, Selfie Sticks

Inventors Jinrong Yang and Ramzi Khalil Maalouf have assigned two families of patents to an entity that they created last year and, through that entity, Dareltech LLC, begun to assert those patents. The plaintiff has sued Samsung (4:18-cv-00702) over three patents generally related to managing the power consumption of displays on handheld computing devices, including cell phones, to extend battery life. Targeted are various Samsung smartphones and tablets. About a week earlier, Dareltech launched a campaign with separate lawsuits against DJI (1:18-cv-08873) and Xiaomi (1:18-cv-08729), alleging infringement of four patents generally related to a “handle for handheld terminal” by the defendants through the provision of selfie sticks.

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