The Federal Circuit has breathed new life into a campaign begun by Uniloc Corporation Pty. Limited in April 2016—before the Australian NPE began ramping up its litigation activity in 2017, before it acquired the large portfolio of patents from Pendrell Corporation in early 2018, and before it transferred control over its patent assets to Fortress Investment Group LLC in May 2018. Throughout 2016 and 2017, Uniloc accused a wide range of defendants of infringing up to four patents, sourced from IBM, through their software licensing and delivery systems. Multiple decisions in the Eastern District of Texas, however, invalidated all four patents under Alice, stopping the campaign in its tracks. Now, in a May 24, 2019 nonprecedential opinion, the Federal Circuit has reversed the district court as to two of those patents while affirming the invalidity of the other two. The case has been remanded back to Texas for further proceedings in the underlying cases, filed against ADP, Big Fish Games, BitDefender, and Kaspersky Lab, but the decision could revive litigation dropped as to other defendants as well.
The filing spree of Uniloc Corporation Pty. Limited continues unabated after handing over the reins of its monetization efforts to Fortress Investment Group LLC earlier this year. Last week alone, plaintiffs related to these entities jointly filed a new suit against Apple in the Western District of Texas, one against Cisco, two against Hike, and four against Alphabet (Google), all in the Eastern District of Texas. Since its acquisition of a large portfolio from Pendrell Corporation subsidiary Pendragon Wireless LLC this past January, Uniloc has been filing new lawsuits on nearly a weekly basis over those patents, on its own, before its transfer of over 600 US patent assets to Fortress in May, and together with Fortress since. That shift in patent ownership came as Fortress announced a new, $400M IP fund focused on patent assertion.
Uniloc Luxembourg S.A. and Uniloc USA, Inc. (collectively, Uniloc) have started 2018 off much as they spent 2017—first suing Apple and then adding other defendants to the new campaigns. Uniloc has filed seven new complaints in the Western District of Texas, each accusing Apple (1:18-cv-00158, 1:18-cv-00159, 1:18-cv-00161, 1:18-cv-00163, 1:18-cv-00164, 1:18-cv-00165, 1:18-cv-00166) of infringing at least one patent that the plaintiff has apparently acquired from Pendrell Corporation subsidiary Pendragon Wireless LLC. As RPX noted last week, in a 10-K recently filed with the SEC, Pendrell indicated that it had divested the “majority” of its “Pendragon portfolio”, which contained “patents related to cellular and digital wireless devices and infrastructure” from multiple sources, including the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), IBM, and Philips. The accused Apple devices, across the seven new complaints, include certain models of the iPhone, iPad, MacBook, iMac, Watch, and iPod, as well as the Magic Keyboard, Mouse, and Trackpad; Apple TV (and Apple TV 4K); and Airpods. The day after Uniloc’s filing flurry against Apple, the NPE filed four complaints against Samsung (2:18-cv-00039, 2:18-cv-00041, 2:18-cv-00042, 2:18-cv-00044), identifying long lists of similar phone, tablet, and other computing devices as the accused products.