Multiple Delaware NPEs under the same apparent control have each taken over the litigation of patents—earlier passed to a Texas entity for assertion—after the patents have boomeranged back. Most recently, Circuit Ventures LLC assigned a family of circuit monitoring patents to Texas entity Wireless Monitoring Systems LLC, which asserted them in litigation from November 2016 to January 2019 before assigning the family back. Circuit Ventures has sued NXP Semiconductors (6:19-cv-00275) and Pepprl + Fuchs (4:19-cv-01515) in April 2019 and Honeywell (1:19-cv-00857), Link Interactive (1:19-cv-00856), and Scout Security (1:19-cv-00858) so far in May. Likewise, Universal Cipher LLC assigned a single patent generally related to “dynamic” text generation to Cumberland Systems, LLC, which asserted it in litigation from May 2017 to May 2018 before returning the patent to Universal Cipher, which has now sued Best Buy (2:19-cv-00160), Target (2:19-cv-00163), and Wal-Mart (2:19-cv-00164) over it. These reversals, as well as other assignment activity, suggest a return to Delaware for these and other NPEs affiliated with the same patent attorney, perhaps motivated by a recent Federal Circuit opinion clarifying that targets of letter-writing campaigns can seek declaratory judgments in their home districts, rather than risk being sued elsewhere.
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Beck Branch, LLC has filed a second wave in its sole litigation campaign, filing suit against CenturyLink Communications (1:18-cv-01915), RingCentral (1:18-cv-01917), Verizon (Oath)(1:18-cv-01916), and Yandex (1:18-cv-01918) in the District of Delaware and against Huawei (6:18-cv-00633) and Juniper Networks (6:18-cv-00634) in the Eastern District of Texas. The NPE targets a range of products with a single patent generally related to network protocol conversion. For example, in roughly analogous fashion to a prior complaint filed against Cisco, Juniper is alleged to infringe through the provision of products that enable IP-based voice communications over multiple communications protocols. Meanwhile, the Huawei complaint focuses on the provision of wearables (smartwatches and “smart fitness bands” using Google’s Wear OS) that communicate with Internet-connected smartphones over Bluetooth, for purposes including the transmission of calls and messages. An earlier complaint, filed against Samsung, contained similar infringement allegations.
Last week, in light of a second entity (Hertl Media LLC) to sue over former Nero AG patents passing through Delaware entity JLP United States Patent Solutions, LLC, RPX reported that Beck Branch, LLC, a Texas entity created in April 2018, had also received a patent passing through JLP but had yet to sue. What a difference a week makes. Beck Branch has filed a flurry of complaints over the patent received, generally related to network protocol conversion, against Cisco (6:18-cv-00310), Microsoft (6:18-cv-00311), and Samsung (6:18-cv-00312) in the Eastern District of Texas, as well as against Blue Jeans Network, Lenovo (Motorola Mobility), Polycom, Sony, Unify, and Vonage in the District of Delaware. The NPE targets a range of products—for example, Cisco is accused of infringement through provision of various communications products utilizing VoIP and/or PTSN; Microsoft, through the provision of its Exchange server and Outlook.com server products; and Samsung, through the provision of wearables as used with its S Health fitness data platform.