RPX Weekly Newsletter

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

Monday, July 26, 2021

RPX members now have exclusive access to an on-demand RPX Community webinar covering highlights from RPX’s second-quarter review, including the latest on the PTAB and SEPs, NPE filing strategies, and litigation funding. This webinar may be eligible for CLE credit in some states. Log into RPX Insight to view this webinar.

Patent Litigation Feature

USPTO Clarifies Post-Arthrex Director Review Process as Patent Owners Raise New Objections

A month after the US Supreme Court issued its June 21 decision in Arthrex, the wrangling over the impact of that ruling has begun to ramp up. In Arthrex, the Court left the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) largely intact but gave the USPTO director the authority to rehear final validity decisions in America Invents Act (AIA) reviews. The Patent Office has since implemented that holding through an interim director review program, kicking off a battle over how that new process should affect existing appeals—and over whether Drew Hirshfeld, the Commissioner for Patents temporarily leading the agency, has the authority to wield that review power.

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Patent Watch

More Mitsubishi Electric Patents Land in NPE Hands

Earlier this month, IPValue Management, Inc. (d/b/a IPValue) announced that it had acquired over 1,200 patent assets from the display business unit of Mitsubishi Electric. While that transaction is not yet reflected in currently available USPTO records, the recordation of another recent Mitsubishi Electric divestment to an NPE has just cropped up among assignment data. Meanwhile, Arigna Technology Limited, a hedge fund-backed NPE under the Atlantic IP Services Limited umbrella, has taken one of its multiple campaigns asserting former Mitsubishi Electric patents to the International Trade Commission (ITC).

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New Patent Litigation

KPN's Licensing Practices in the Crosshairs of New Southern District of California Complaint

u-blox has filed a declaratory judgment action in the Southern District of California against Koninklijke KPN N.V. (3:21-cv-01220), a telecommunications provider based in the Netherlands, asserting various claims related to KPN’s alleged failure to license its standard essential patents related to 2G, 3G, and 4G cellular technology on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. In January of this year, KPN fired off a round of new suits—against u-blox, as well as against Acer, BLU Products, Bullitt Group, Xiaomi, and Yulong Computer Telecommunications Scientific Company (Coolpad Technologies)—in the District of Delaware, where recent dismissals have left only a case between KPN and HTC still headed toward trial there.

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Cisco Sues Estech as Estech and Prior Defendants Prep for Trial

Jury selection for the earliest cases filed by telecommunications equipment manufacturer Estech Systems, Inc., in April 2020, is slated for August 2 in the courtroom of District Judge Rodney Gilstrap. The defendants in that consolidated action—BBVA, BOKF, Hilltop Holdings (PlainsCapital Bank), Target, and Wells Fargo—have filed a second motion for summary judgment of noninfringement, arguing “license and release” under an apparent agreement between Estech and Microsoft. Meanwhile, Cisco (together with subsidiary Cisco Technology) has sued Estech, also in the Eastern District of Texas, asserting affirmative patent infringement claims, as well as seeking declaratory judgments of noninfringement of four VoIP patents held by Estech.

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AlmondNet and Roku Set Up Potential First-to-File Fight

AlmondNet, Inc., together with its subsidiary Intent IQ, LLC, have sued Roku (6:21-cv-00731) over the provision of its OneView advertisement platform, targeting a variety of certain data collection and advertisement methods; in a separate suit, Roku has filed a declaratory judgment complaint against AlmondNet and Intent IQ (1:21-cv-01035), seeking a judgment of noninfringement (of the same patents) by the same OneView advertisement platform. Both lawsuits were filed on July 15, AlmondNet’s in the Western District of Texas; Roku’s, in the District of Delaware.

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Trio of New Suits Takes Aim at Smart Water Bottles

Inventor-controlled Xennial IP LLC has sued Alphabet (Fitbit) (1:21-cv-01051) and Hidrate (1:21-cv-01050) in the District of Delaware and Apple (5:21-cv-01405) in the Northern District of Ohio. The plaintiff targets provision of the Hidrate Spark STEEL and/or the Hidrate Spark 3 smart water bottles and featured integration capabilities through the defendants’ wrist activity trackers, including the Apple Watch and FitBit. Two patents generally directed to a “communicative sports water bottle” equipped with a display and sensors have been asserted in each case.

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ACQIS Appeals Noninfringement Ruling in Massachusetts, Sues Acer in Texas

ACQIS LLC has filed expanded its sole litigation campaign, begun in 2009, with a new case against Acer (2:21-cv-00275) in the Eastern District of Texas. Cases from a round filed last fall—against ASUSTek, Inventec, Lenovo, MiTAC, Samsung, and Wistron—remain in early stages, while a prior suit, filed against Dell (EMC) in the Eastern District of Texas but transferred to the District of Massachusetts, was just dismissed, District Judge Allison D. Burroughs granting EMC’s motion for summary judgment of noninfringement of all claims from eight asserted patents. The court did so principally because the accused products do not comply with the PCI Local Bus Specification, as Judge Burroughs ruled is required under the court’s construction of a key claim term.

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Digital Cache Extends Digital Storage Campaign with Three More Suits

Giga-Byte Technology (6:21-cv-00719), Hon Hai Precision Industry (Sharp) (6:21-cv-00733), and Micro-Star International (6:21-cv-00732) are the latest defendants to be added to the sole litigation campaign that Digital Cache, LLC launched in February 2021. The plaintiff asserts a single patent received from Intellectual Ventures LLC (IV), generally related to “overwriting nonvolatile memory data”, with the defendants targeted over laptops with solid-state drives (SSDs)—manufactured by Kingston Technologies (Micro-Star), Samsung (Sharp), and Transcend Information (Giga-Byte)—that support the TRIM command and garbage collection features.

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