The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) remained at the center of a heated public debate over the issue of tribal sovereign immunity in December 2017. Motions to dismiss filed by the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe in IPRs against several Allergan patents—acquired by the tribe and licensed back to their original owner to shield them through sovereign immunity—remain pending as the PTAB considers a wave of amicus briefs filed on both sides of the issue. The Board has since denied the tribe’s motion for an oral hearing on discovery related to alleged bias held by the USPTO and its leadership, and that bias’s effect on the selection of judges for the tribe’s case. Meanwhile, among the petitions for inter partes review (IPR) filed in December was one brought by Apple against MEC Resources, LLC, an entity owned by another Native American tribe, which took over an existing lawsuit asserting the challenged patent against Apple in the fall. Also in December, the Board issued institution decisions in petitions against Iridescent Networks, Inc.; Lone Star Silicon Innovations LLC; and publicly traded Quarterhill Inc.; while an IPR against Packet Intelligence LLC ended in an adverse judgment after petitioner Sandvine prevailed in a November trial.
Uniloc Luxembourg S.A. and Uniloc USA, Inc. (collectively, Uniloc) have filed an eleventh 2017 case against Apple (2:17-cv-00708), asserting a patent that RPX has followed from Paragon Solutions LLC to Red Dragon Innovations, LLC in a July assignment and from Red Dragon to Uniloc in another assignment earlier this month. The patent generally relates to monitoring exercise, with Uniloc accusing Apple of infringement through the manufacture and sale of smartwatches that “can be paired to allow a first user to share exercise information wirelessly with a second device”, naming the Series 2, Series 3, and Nike+ models of the Apple Watch.