Solas OLED Limited has added a sixth case to its display panel campaign, hitting HP (6:19-cv-00631) over the provision of Spectre x360 Laptops. HP joins Alphabet (Google), Apple, Dell, LG Display and LG Electronics (LGE) (named in the same complaint), and Sony as defendants in the Western District of Texas, each of which has yet to file an answer (or otherwise respond to) the complaint filed against it; Samsung, a defendant in the Eastern District of Texas, has answered, pleading counterclaims for noninfringement and invalidity, as well as a counterclaim for unenforceability of one of the three patents asserted against it, based on alleged inequitable conduct before the USPTO.
Litigation finance firms have experienced record fundraising in recent years, with private equity firms and hedge funds looking for opportunities to invest in uncorrelated assets that can withstand, or even perform well in, the next economic downturn. With large amounts of capital on hand, and therefore fewer concerns about diversifying their investments, multi-strategy funds are proving to be attractive investment partners for standalone litigation funders. Through such partnerships, a new breed of NPEs has emerged—one backed by more copious and patient capital than those of years past. This article, the first in a series covering the evolving sources of capital for NPEs today, takes a look at two private equity firms and a hedge fund backing notable NPE campaigns.
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In December 2018, Irish entity Solas OLED Limited augmented its sizeable portfolio of patents, received from Casio in April 2016, with an additional set of assets received from Microchip Technology (Atmel) and one additional patent received from the University of Stuttgart. The patents generally relate to various aspects of display panels, and Solas OLED began asserting them in litigation by suing LG Display, LG Electronics (LGE), and Sony in the Western District of Texas, later adding cases against Samsung (in the Eastern District of Texas) and Alphabet (Google) and Dell (back in the Western District of Texas). With subsequent amendments to its early complaints and with a new case filed in the Western District against Apple (6:19-cv-00537), Solas OLED has now brought all of this litigation into a single display panel campaign.
In early May, Irish NPE Solas OLED Limited sued Samsung in the Eastern District of Texas over a former Atmel patent generally related to a flexible touch sensor comprising a conductive mesh grid and a flexible substrate that are “configured to wrap around one or more edges of a display”. On August 23, the plaintiff amended that complaint to add allegations of infringement of two more display panel patents. Last week, Solas OLED filed separate complaints in the Western District of Texas asserting both of those additional patents against Alphabet (Google) (6:19-cv-00515) and one of them against Dell (6:19-cv-00514), with infringement allegations targeting products with organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays and calling out Google’s Pixel 3XL smartphone and Dell’s Venue 8 tablet.
Solas OLED Limited has opened up a second litigation campaign, this time suing Samsung (2:19-cv-00152) over a single former Atmel patent generally related to a flexible touch sensor comprising a conductive mesh grid and a flexible substrate that are “configured to wrap around one or more edges of a display”. The NPE, formed in Ireland in March 2016, targets Samsung’s provision of Galaxy smartphones with “touchscreens (including flexible touch sensors) that wrap around the edges of the display”. This new case follows by about a month Solas OLED’s first suit, which accused LG Display, LG Electronics (LGE), and Sony of infringing a single patent received from the University of Stuttgart and generally related to a “driving circuit” for “image points” on an OLED (“organic light-emitting diode”) screen.
Solas OLED Limited, an NPE formed in Ireland in March 2016, has filed suit against LG Display, LG Electronics (LGE), and Sony (6:19-cv-00236), targeting OLED (“organic light-emitting diode”) display panels made by LG Display and incorporated into televisions made by LGE and Sony. A single patent, received from the University of Stuttgart and generally related to a “driving circuit” for “image points” on an OLED screen, is asserted in the complaint. Solas OLED, an affiliate of Data Scape Limited, another Irish NPE with an ongoing litigation campaign, touts a worldwide portfolio of patents purportedly covering “all critical areas of OLED structures, display design/architecture, and driver circuitry”.