Following dismissals in cases against Alphabet (Google) and Samsung, Fortress Investment Group LLC affiliate Seven Networks LLC has added an Eastern District of Texas case against Apple (2:19-cv-00115) to the litigation campaign that it began in May 2017. Sixteen patents are asserted in the new complaint, each with original development work done by Seven Networks Inc. (f/k/a Leap Corporation), a mobile email company that converted to the current Fortress LLC in July 2015. A wide range of Apple products and services are targeted, in various overlapping groups across the allegations of infringement of the 16 patents-in-suit.
The US Supreme Court’s decision in TC Heartland caused a dramatic realignment in patent venue through its holding that a corporation “resides” for venue purposes in its state of incorporation. However, while TC Heartland provided some much-needed clarity as to that first prong of the patent venue statute (28 USC Section 1400(b)), courts have split as to the statute’s second prong, which provides that venue is proper where a defendant “has committed acts of infringement and has a regular and established place of business”. One such ruling applying that prong, handed down last July by District Judge Rodney Gilstrap, has highlighted the tension in this area of venue law. In that order, issued in a case that Fortress Investment Group LLC affiliate Seven Networks LLC brought against Google, Judge Gilstrap denied the defendant’s venue challenge, holding that certain Google servers maintained within third-party facilities in the Eastern District of Texas constituted a “regular and established place of business”. On February 5, the full Federal Circuit declined to revisit that decision for a second time, following its October denial of Google’s petition for mandamus review—once again prompting a sharp rebuke from dissenting Circuit Judge Jimmie Reyna (2018-0152).
Seven Networks LLC, an affiliate of Fortress Investment Group LLC, has refreshed its sole active litigation campaign with a pair of new lawsuits against existing defendants Alphabet (Google) (2:18-cv-00477) and Samsung (2:18-cv-00474), asserting six patents not previously seen in litigation. The NPE accuses the companies of infringement through the provision of certain models of the Google Pixel smartphone and certain Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets. At issue are the devices’ features designed to maintain a network connection; manage apps and processes differently when a device is in use versus idle; enter a power save mode when the device has been idle for a period of time; disable certain network connections when the device is idle; and allow the user to manually enter a power save mode. These new complaints come on the heels of a recent, split Federal Circuit opinion that denied Google’s improper venue challenge in another Seven Networks lawsuit.