The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) saw activity in August 2018 involving a variety of frequent litigants. This included petitions for inter partes review (IPR) filed against two NPEs controlled by Fortress Investment Group LLC, INVT SPE LLC and Uniloc 2017 LLC, the latter of which has in recent months cofiled a barrage of lawsuits with subsidiaries of Australian NPE Uniloc Corporation Pty. Limited (Uniloc). The PTAB also instituted trial in August for IPRs against Uniloc 2017 and some of its campaign coplaintiffs, and in an IPR against an NPE controlled by patent attorney Brian Yates, whose US litigation has waned as he pursues a new patent licensing initiative through his company iPEL, Inc. Finally, the PTAB issued final decisions in August for IPRs against Uniloc, Empire IP LLC, and Quarterhill Inc.
This past week, Uniloc Luxembourg S.A. and Uniloc USA, Inc. (collectively, Uniloc) added Huawei (2:17-cv-00722) to their campaign litigating a single former HP Enterprise (HPE) patent generally related to changing how a battery is charged based on temperature. Smartphones, smartwatches, and tablets are at issue throughout the campaign, which has already hit Apple, HTC, Lenovo (Motorola Mobility), and LG Electronics (LGE). Huawei is accused of infringement through the manufacture and sale of certain of its smartphones.
Uniloc Luxembourg S.A. and Uniloc USA, Inc. (collectively, Uniloc) have continued filing new litigation for yet another consecutive week, adding additional suits to three of the 11 campaigns that the NPE has initiated in 2017. Lenovo (Motorola Mobility) has been added to two campaigns, the first case (1:17-cv-01526) asserting one former HP Enterprise (HPE) patent generally related to changing how a battery is charged based on temperature, and the second (1:17-cv-01527) asserting another former HPE patent generally related to the remote display of graphics from a mobile device. The third new case asserts yet another patent received from HPE, generally related to using a “palm-sized computer” to control a “service” on a network, this one against Binatone Electronics (Exclusive Group LLC d/b/a Binatone North America) (1:17-cv-03962).
So far in 2017, Uniloc Luxembourg S.A. and Uniloc USA, Inc. (collectively, Uniloc) have filed eleven cases against Apple. Uniloc subsequently added Samsung and/or LG Electronics (LGE) to several of those campaigns and continued in that vein late this past week, adding HTC (2:17-cv-01558) and Huawei (2:17-cv-00707) to one of them, HTC (2:17-cv-01562) and LGE (4:17-cv-00858) to a second, and HTC (2:17-cv-01561) to a third. Each of these campaigns asserts against the defendants patents that Uniloc received from HP Enterprise (HPE) earlier this year.
So far in 2017, Uniloc Luxembourg S.A. and Uniloc USA, Inc. (collectively, Uniloc) have initiated ten litigation campaigns, all of them against Apple, six asserting patents received from HP Enterprise (HPE), three asserting patents originally developed by Fullpower Technologies, and one asserting Uniloc’s own patent. In August and September, Uniloc added cases against Samsung to four of those campaigns, and it has now added cases against LG Electronics (LGE) to seven of them. All of the cases brought so far this month have been filed in the Northern District of Texas.
A variety of NPEs have reacted to the US Supreme Court’s decision in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods Group Brands (2016-0341) by either dismissing and re-filing their cases in other districts or simply conceding venue challenges. In contrast, Australian NPE Uniloc Corporation Pty. Limited has further dug its heels into the Eastern District of Texas. Shortly after Uniloc filed a series of new and amended complaints against Google, designed to establish proper venue in the Eastern District, defendants in some of the NPE’s other Texas litigation filed a host of venue motions against it. On June 2, Ubisoft (2:16-cv-00745, 2:16-cv-00781) filed two motions both seeking transfer to the Northern District of California or dismissal for improper venue in litigation targeting its software licensing and notification systems, joined by a similar motion filed by Piriform on June 7 (in a consolidated action against AVG, 2:16-cv-00393) seeking dismissal or transfer to Delaware. Ubisoft filed another such motion in Uniloc’s software update campaign on June 2 (2:17-cv-00175), also seeking transfer to the Northern District of California or dismissal for improper venue, joined by another Northern District transfer/dismissal motion brought by Box (2:17-cv-00173), with campaign co-defendant Zendesk (2:17-cv-00176) filing its own motion to dismiss due to improper venue that same day.
Uniloc USA, Inc. (as exclusive licensee) and Uniloc Luxembourg S.A. (as patent owner) (collectively, Uniloc) have filed three new cases against Apple. Each new complaint asserts a single patent not seen before in litigation. In the first case (2:17-cv-00454), the NPE accuses Apple of infringing a patent (6,661,203), generally related to changing how a battery is charged based on temperature, through the manufacture and sale of mobile devices (Apple Watch, laptops, iPhones, iPads, and iPods) with built-in mechanisms to prevent overheating. In the second (2:17-cv-00455), Uniloc asserts a patent (6,580,422), generally related to the remote display of graphics from a mobile device, targeting display and/or playback from iPhones or iPads through Apple TV. In the third suit (2:17-cv-00457), Uniloc asserts a single patent (7,092,671) generally related to remotely dialing a telephone number against using iPads and iPhones in combination to dial a stored telephone number. The patents asserted are three out of a group of 13 patents that Uniloc received in a May 16, 2017 transaction from HP Enterprise.