In November 2018, District Judge Lucy H. Koh lifted a stay imposed in a case filed by X One Inc. against Uber roughly two years earlier. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) had just handed down final written decisions declining to cancel any challenged claim from either of two asserted patents, which Uber had unsuccessfully challenged early on as patent-ineligibly drawn to the abstract idea of “gathering and displaying position information of wireless device users”. The stay lifted, the suit proceeded toward trial; X One had survived Alice and had apparently survived the PTAB, relatively unscathed. Not so fast.
Inventor-controlled AlterWAN, Inc. has filed a District of Delaware suit against Amazon (1:19-cv-01544), accusing the tech giant of infringing six patents generally related to routing Internet traffic across autonomous systems. The complaint emphasizes the background of the inventor named on the patents-in-suit, Richard Haney, who purportedly began working in 1999 “to address limitations in private networking technology”, including the fact that “[p]rivate networks that used the Internet as a backbone were inexpensive but inefficient and unreliable, exhibiting problems of lack of reserved bandwidth and latency as well as poor data security”. Amazon is accused of infringement through the provision of its Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) platform.
The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) saw a decline in petitions for AIA review filed against NPES in April 2017. While the total number of April petitions, 120, was somewhat less than the three-year monthly average of 150, NPEs were hit by 20 petitions in April, a 68.8 percent decline from 64 the previous month. The dip in April PTAB filings comes in the midst of an overall increase in PTAB petitions over the previous year, with the total number of petitions filed so far in fiscal year 2017 nearing 1,200 as of the date of this report (compared to just over 930 petitions during the same period last year). Prolific private litigants remain a regular target for PTAB petitions, with petitions filed in April against IP Edge LLC and Uniloc Corporation Pty. Limited, while Acacia Research Corporation was the only publicly traded NPE named in petitions brought during that month.