RPX Weekly Newsletter

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

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Patent Litigation Feature

Texas Jury Issues Infringement Verdict in IV Case Against T-Mobile and Ericsson as Campaign Sees Setbacks in US and Europe

A jury in the Eastern District of Texas has issued a verdict of infringement in litigation brought by a subsidiary of Intellectual Ventures LLC (IV) against T-Mobile and Ericsson. The jury found that the defendants both infringed at least one of the patents-in-suit, T-Mobile through its LTE network and Ericsson through related LTE telecommunications equipment, awarding damages of $34M as to the former and $9M for the latter. That verdict comes after a series of recent setbacks for IV in the same litigation campaign, including the Federal Circuit’s affirmance of a T-Mobile Alice win last month and the partial grant in September of an Alice challenge brought by T-Mobile and SoftBank (Sprint). The European leg of that campaign has also run into trouble, with a noninfringement verdict reportedly issued last year in litigation against Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, and Vodafone.

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Patent Watch

Private Equity Firm Buys PanOptis

Brevet Capital, a private equity firm based in New York, issued a press release on February 11 announcing that it has purchased multiple entities affiliated with Leslie Ware’s PanOptis Holdings, LLC, including litigating NPEs Optis Cellular Technology LLC; Optis Wireless Technology, LLC; and Unwired Planet, LLC. While terms of the deal remain confidential, a recent disclosure in a PanOptis suit against Huawei—the NPE’s last litigation filed since joining the Marconi Group in March 2017—provides details about which entities are now owned by Brevet.

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New Patent Litigation

Innovative Foundry Technologies Launches International Campaign over Portfolio Acquired from AMD

Innovative Foundry Technologies LLC (IFT) has filed an international salvo of litigation over a portfolio of patents acquired from Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) last June, including the NPE’s first cases in the US and China and additional litigation in Germany. In the US, new complaints have hit chip makers MediaTek (1:19-cv-00304), Qualcomm (1:19-cv-00323), and TSMC (1:19-cv-00308), targeting products manufactured using 5-65 nanometer processes, and BBK Communication (Guangdong OPPO Mobile, OnePlus Technology, Vivo Mobile) (1:19-cv-00305), Hisense (1:19-cv-00306), TCL (1:19-cv-00307), and VIZIO (8:19-cv-00301), targeting smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, televisions, and/or other devices that include such semiconductor products. Asserted in each of the new US lawsuits are up to five of the roughly 60 US patents transferred to IFT; the patents are generally related to various aspects of semiconductor/transistor fabrication, configuration, operation, and packaging. According to a February 18 press release, IFT’s new Chinese complaint was filed in the Shanghai IP Court against Cisco and a local distribution partner, Shanghai Huimai Electronic Technology, with its German complaint filed in the District Court of Düsseldorf’s Patent Litigation Chamber against Ford, Texas Instruments (TI), and Volkswagen.

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Network Security Campaign, in Which IV Retains an Interest, Expands in California

FireNet Technologies, LLC has added a new case to a litigation campaign in which Intellectual Ventures LLC (IV) retains an interest. The NPE, an affiliate of Georgia monetization firm IP Investments Group LLC (d/b/a IPinvestments Group), has accused Fortinet (4:19-cv-00798) of infringing the same four network security patents that it asserted in previous suits against A10 Networks, Fujitsu, and KEMP Technologies. FireNet targets Fortinet networking products and services, calling out “Fortinet Web Security and Firewall Products, including FortiWeb, FortiGate, and FortiADC products” specifically.

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Fundamental Innovations Systems International Responds to Apple’s California DJ Action by Affirmatively Suing It in Texas

A week following Apple’s early February declaratory judgment (DJ) complaint against Fundamental Innovation Systems International LLC (FISI) in the Northern District of California, the NPE has brought a separate infringement suit (2:19-cv-00048), asserting five of the 12 patents-in-suit in Apple’s DJ. FISI’s complaint, filed in the Eastern District of Texas on February 11, targets a similar list of products, including certain charging adapters, mobile devices, wireless earbuds, Bluetooth speakers, and wearables, but also adding certain Mac laptops (the “Macbook Pro 4th Gen, Macbook 8, Macbook 9, Macbook 10 and Macbook Air 8”). The patents asserted are a subset of hundreds acquired from BlackBerry in late 2015 and include patents previously litigated by FISI in cases against Huawei, LG Electronics (LGE), and Samsung (each of which subsequently took licenses to the FISI patents, according to the NPE), as well as ZTE (which was sued in early 2017 and remains active in litigation).

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After False Start Years Ago, Cellect Reboots Campaign over Mobile Device Cameras

Colorado plaintiff Cellect LLC appears to have put an ill-fated 2013 foray into patent litigation behind it, suing Samsung (1:19-cv-00438) over 11 patents generally related to the use of “stacked complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensors”. Samsung is alleged to infringe through the provision of various Galaxy smartphones and tablets, the complaint focusing on various features of those devices’ cameras (e.g., image capture, image transfer, video calling). Cellect pleads that it provided notice “of its patents, including the Asserted Patents” to Samsung through an in-person meeting in February 2014, roughly at the halfway point of its prior, short-lived litigation against HTC.

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Motorola Hit a Second Time in WiLAN’s Wireless Networking Campaign

Quarterhill Inc. (as Wi-LAN Inc.; Wi-LAN USA, Inc.; and Wi-LAN Labs, Inc., collectively WiLAN) has filed a second case (1:19-cv-00941) against Motorola Mobility LLC (with Motorola Mobility Holdings, Inc.), asserting the same four networking patents at issue in the NPE’s 2017 case (3:17-cv-00365) against Motorola and its parent company, Lenovo. WiLAN’s new complaint targets some of the same products accused in that first case—which was dismissed without prejudice early last year—including certain models of Motorola’s Moto and DROID smartphones.

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Cloud Computing Campaign Continues Adding Defendants

Two of the eight patents asserted across the growing campaign of Data Scape Limited are at issue in the NPE’s latest suit, filed against Teradata (2:19-cv-01002) in the Central District of California. Those patents broadly concern storing and syncing data files in a distributed computing environment, with infringement allegations throughout the campaign focusing on products and services that sync documents and data (e.g., music files) across servers and client devices. Data Scape targets Teradata over the provision of products and services (including “Unity, Unity Director, Unity Loader, Data Mover, Teradata Managed Server Unity, Unity Director/Loader Model 8-81X and Expansion Server Model 8-81XE, Unity Source Link Server, [and] Teradata Managed Server Unity Data Mover”) that transfer data between devices.

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Second Suit Filed over Korean University Patent as Judge Gilstrap Considers Post-Verdict Evidence Related to Standing

KIPB LLC (f/k/a KAIST IP US LLC), a Texas subsidiary of South Korean state-run research university Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), has upped the stakes in its ongoing litigation campaign over a single patent generally related to the fabrication of certain double-gate FinFET devices. In June 2018, a Texas jury returned a verdict finding infringement by GlobalFoundries, Qualcomm, and Samsung through the provision of devices using certain 14 nm bulk FinFET technology. That jury awarded KIPB $400M in damages from Samsung, further finding Samsung’s infringement to be willful. The new complaint (2:19-cv-00056), filed over the same patent against Qualcomm and Samsung only, targets alleged infringement “based on other bulk FinFET technology nodes…reserved for future actions”—and it comes as the court considers the parties’ voluminous posttrial motions, including a fight over standing to sue that only intensified after the jury’s verdict.

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New Campaign Targets Interactive Features in Video Platforms

Inventor-controlled COOLTvNetwork.com, Inc. has initiated its first litigation campaign, suing Blackboard (1:19-cv-00291), Facebook (1:19-cv-00292), IBM (1:19-cv-00293), Kaltura (1:19-cv-00294), Limelight Networks (1:19-cv-00295), Microsoft (1:19-cv-00296), and Ooyala (1:19-cv-00297) in the District of Delaware. In each complaint, the plaintiff asserts a single patent generally related to a “multifunctional hot spot”, accusing the defendants of infringement through the provision of interactive features within online video delivery or streaming services. For example, COOLTvNETWORK.com targets Facebook over, among other things, click-through links in video ads, as well as features related to buying the advertised product or service.

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MIT Sues Ford over Fuel Injection Systems

Together, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (as patent owner) and Ethanol Boosting Systems, LLC (EBS) (as exclusive licensee) have sued Ford (1:19-cv-00196), accusing the automaker of infringing four patents from a family of over two dozen, the asserted patents generally related to fuel management systems involving both port and direct fuel injection. After recounting a lengthy history of alleged communications with Ford over its patented technology, the plaintiffs accuse Ford of infringement through the provision of certain engines and fuel management systems, including its 2.7L EcoBoost, 3.5L EcoBoost, High Output 3.5L EcoBoost, 3.3L Ti-VCT, and 5.0L Ti-VCT V8 engines and fuel management systems.

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