SK hynix (3:22-cv-03915) has filed a single Northern District of California action against monetization firm Longhorn IP LLC and two of its “portfolio” entities, Hamilcar Barca IP LLC and Trenchant Blade Technologies LLC, seeking declaratory judgments of noninfringement of seven patents. The plaintiff alleges receipt of multiple letters from the plaintiffs, beginning in May 2020, giving rise to jurisdiction over the dispute, by which SK hynix seeks to clear a wide array of products, including image sensors, integrated circuit devices, and memory products, from the Longhorn IP accusations of infringement. This litigation was foreshadowed, at least in part, by a letter attached to an earlier DJ complaint against Longhorn IP, revealing its “intent to license the patent portfolio [of Trenchant] to other companies, including Samsung, Micron, SK hynix, Global Foundries, UMC and SMIC”.
Last week, as ordered to do so, Trenchant Blade Technologies, LLC filed its answer to a declaratory judgment complaint that Samsung filed against both it and Longhorn IP LLC in the Northern District of California. Trenchant had contested personal jurisdiction, which motion District Judge Vince Chhabria denied in late June. The parties’ dispute involves several former TSMC patents and a prior covenant not to sue, which the recently filed answer contends is “unenforceable as written”. It appears this set of disputes will now be adjudicated in Northern California, not West Texas, where the same parties have moved to lift a stay for the limited purpose of moving to transfer that case to California.
As it did after Samsung filed a case against it in the same forum last November, Trenchant Blade Technologies LLC has responded to Intel’s Northern District of California declaratory judgment complaint by filing an affirmative infringement action in the Western District of Texas against Intel (6:21-cv-00490). The Longhorn IP LLC NPE accuses Intel of infringement of four former TSMC patents through the provision of processors and memory products manufactured using certain semiconductor fabrication processes.
Intel (4:21-cv-03398) has filed a Northern District of California complaint seeking declaratory judgments of noninfringement of five former TSMC patents now held by Trenchant Blade Technologies, LLC, an NPE affiliated with Longhorn IP LLC. Per Intel’s complaint, an assertion letter from Longhorn IP conveys an “intent to license the patent portfolio to other companies, including Samsung, Micron, SK hynix, Global Foundries, UMC and SMIC”. The letter, attached to Intel’s complaint, is dated in April 2020, seven months before Samsung filed its own declaratory judgment action in the Northern District of California and nine months before Trenchant Blade fired back, suing Samsung affirmatively in the Western District of Texas.
Late last year, Samsung asked the Northern District of California to enforce a covenant not to sue granted to it by Longhorn IP LLC, which Samsung contends covers three patents that TSMC subsequently assigned to Trenchant Blade Technologies, LLC. The parties stipulated to an extension of the deadline, to January 27, for the defendants to answer or otherwise respond to Samsung’s complaint. Trenchant Blade has now responded, of a sort, by filing a new Western District of Texas complaint (6:21-cv-00067) charging Samsung with infringement of the same three former TSMC patents.
Samsung (5:20-cv-08205) has asked the Northern District of California for declaratory judgments of noninfringement of three patents held by NPEs Longhorn IP LLC and Trenchant Blade Technologies, LLC, seeking enforcement of a prior covenant not to sue in the same complaint. The semiconductor fabrication patents originated with TSMC, which assigned the assets to Trenchant Blade this past March, on the same day that litigation between Katana Silicon Technologies LLCand TSMC was dismissed. In April,Trenchant Blade allegedly sent a letter indicating an intent to license the acquired assets to multiple companies, including GlobalFoundries, Intel, Micron, SK hynix, SMIC, and UMC, as well as Samsung. The relationship between Katana Silicon, Longhorn IP, and Trenchant Blade is at the center of Samsung’s new complaint.