In July 2018, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) saw the first new petition for inter partes review (IPR) filed against a Native American tribe since the Board’s March ruling that IPRs against tribes are not barred by sovereign immunity, a decision that was upheld by the Federal Circuit on July 20. Institution decisions were also issued by the Board in July for IPRs against Uniloc Corporation Pty. Limited and Sound View Innovations, LLC, among other notable plaintiffs. In addition, the PTAB issued final decisions throughout July for IPRs against a variety of other NPEs, from Intellectual Ventures LLC (which has continued to pursue its existing campaigns but has seemingly stopped filing new US litigation) to smaller entities like Andrea Electronics Corporation and XPRT Ventures LLC as well as individual inventor Daniel L. Flamm.
On March 30, third-party complaints brought by individual inventor Daniel L. Flamm against Global Foundries (5:16-cv-01578), Intel (5:16-cv-01579), Maxim Integrated Products (5:16-cv-01580), and Micron Technology (5:16-cv-01581) were severed into separate actions in the Northern District of California. Flamm lodged the complaints in answer to a declaratory judgment brought against him by Lam Research (5:15-cv-01277) just over a year ago, in March 2015. Lam’s complaint sought a declaratory judgment that it does not infringe three patents (5,711,849; 6,017,221; RE40,264) owned by Flamm. The three patents generally relate to processes used in semiconductor fabrication, and around September 2014, Flamm’s attorneys had sent assertion letters to multiple customers of Lam’s semiconductor manufacturing equipment, motivating Lam to file suit.
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