RPX Weekly Newsletter

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

Monday, February 24, 2020

RPX Community is on the road, first to Texas and then to Ireland! Members can join us in Dallas on March 16 for a networking reception at IPWatchdog CON2020 or at IPBC Europe in Dublin on March 24. To RSVP or for more details, email community@rpxcorp.com.

Patent Litigation Feature

As PTAB Unseals Google IPR Win against ITRI Spin-Off, NPE Raises Time-Bar Issue

CyWee Group Ltd., a spin-off of the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), hit a roadblock in its ongoing smartphone motion-sensing campaign in early January, when the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) invalidated claims from both patents-in-suit in an inter partes review (IPR) filed by Google. Now, shortly after the PTAB released redacted, public versions of those two decisions, CyWee has filed a second lawsuit against Google (6:20-cv-00128), alleging that the company should have listed another campaign defendant, LG Electronics (LGE), as a real party in interest (RPI) in its IPRs—in which case the petitions would have been time-barred. The NPE’s complaint follows an earlier attempt to raise a similar RPI argument before the PTAB, which rejected that defense in its January final decisions.

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Patent Watch

Trio of Irish Entities Litigating US Patents Appears on the Verge of Becoming a Quartet

Early in February Microchip and its subsidiaries Atmel and Microsemi assigned another batch of US patent assets, this time 50 issued patents and a handful of additional applications, to an NPE formed in Ireland. The recipient is Sonraí Memory Limited, which Irish records link to Data Scape Limited, Neodrón Limited, and Solas OLED Limited, each of which has launched sizeable litigation campaigns that have remained active since Data Scape first began filing suit in December 2018. Prominent financial backing for the three campaigns suggests litigation from Sonraí Memory is likely coming.

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New Patent Litigation

Various Uses of VR Functionality, in Training and Elsewhere, Targeted in Virtual Immersion's Latest Round of Suits

Virtual Immersion Technologies LLC (VIT), an entity under the apparent control of Equitable IP Corporation, has hit Exxon Mobil (1:20-cv-00966), Gilbane (1:20-cv-01212), Hochtief (Turner Construction) (1:20-cv-00974), Jacobs Engineering (1:20-cv-00969), M.A. Mortenson (d/b/a Mortenson Construction) (1:20-cv-00971), and Siemens (1:20-cv-00973) in its campaign, begun in 2016, over a single patent generally related to virtual reality entertainment systems. Targeted throughout the campaign have been the defendants’ use and/or provision of “virtual and augmented reality technologies and services”. For example, the complaint against Exxon Mobil details the alleged use of VR technology to facilitate safety training among its employees; the Siemens complaint, the alleged use of VR technology in product development software.

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Transacted IBM Portfolio Prompts Litigation in the Sky Last Month, on the Roads Now

Last week RPX reported the assignment of the remaining former IBM assets acquired last fall by Daedalus Group LLC to new Maryland entity Slingshot IOT LLC. Most of those assets were transferred in late January to Daedalus Blue LLC, a entity that has subsequently begun asserting a subset of them, filing a case against dronemaker DJI. Last week, Slingshot IOT assigned nearly 20 assets, roughly a third of what it received from Daedalus Group, to Quartz Auto Technologies, LLC, another new Maryland entity, which has also now turned plaintiff, suing Uber (6:20-cv-00126) in the Western District of Texas over six of those patents.

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QLED Displays Targeted in New West Texas Lawsuit Against Samsung

SVV Technology Innovations (d/b/a Lucent Optics) has filed its first lawsuit, accusing Samsung (6:20-cv-00139) of infringing seven patents generally related to films and structures that alter light passing through them. The plaintiff accuses Samsung of infringement through the provision of QLED (“quantum dot LED”) TVs “and other products containing LED-illuminated LCD displays, including televisions, computer monitors, tablets, and handheld devices”.

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Sharpe Elbows Against Retailers in SIM Card Adapter Campaign

Sharpe Innovations Inc. has filed suit against retailers Best Buy (1:20-cv-00178) and Target (1:20-cv-00110) in the Western District of Texas, as well as against Tucows (1:20-cv-00166) in the District of Delaware. The new cases join active 2020 defendant Verizon (Visible Service), which was sued in mid-January in the District of Colorado. Each complaint has seen two patents generally related to a SIM card adapter that allows use of a smaller-format SIM card in an device that uses a larger-format SIM card (where the adapter body has a cut-out region “defined by walls” and that has a floor, with that region shaped to fit a micro SIM). At issue in the campaign, which began in June 2017, has been the provision of certain cellular SIM cards—here, Best Buy over SIM cards from Consumer Cellular, Target over FreedomPop SIM card kits, and Tucows over its own starter kit.

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In New Suit, Profectus Targets Google’s Next Hub Products as “Mountable” Digital Picture Frames

Profectus Technology LLC has filed suit against Alphabet (Google) (6:20-cv-00101) in the Western District of Texas, accusing the defendant of infringing a single patent through the provision of the Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max. The asserted patent generally relates to a “mountable” digital picture frame, with infringement allegations focused on the accused products’ ability to display photos, with Profectus attaching a claim chart indicating that the devices’ built-in stands satisfy that “mountable” limitation. That limitation was the basis of a summary judgment ruling against Profectus on infringement in many of the cases filed in 2011 to start this campaign.

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In Case You Missed It

Korean University Accepts Reduced Damages Award in Texas Semiconductor Suit

In June 2018, a Texas jury issued a $400M infringement verdict for KIPB LLC (f/k/a KAIST IP US LLC), a US-based subsidiary of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), a South Korean state-run research university. The verdict included a finding that Samsung had infringed a single KAIST patent through the provision of semiconductor products utilizing FinFET technology, as well as a finding that GlobalFoundries and Qualcomm had infringed through the provision of chips and devices that incorporate FinFET architectures. Earlier this month, District Judge Rodney Gilstrap overturned the damages award, which had been issued against Samsung, holding that it had not been entirely supported by the evidence—offering the plaintiff a remittitur of $203M or a new trial on damages. KAIST has now opted for the lower amount.

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