Delaware plaintiff Helios Streaming, LLC (as exclusive licensee) and its Korean parent Ideahub, Inc. (as patent owner) have followed up their January case against Fandango (8:21-cv-00211) with a new suit against Comcast (NBC Universal Media, Peacock TV) (8:21-cv-00259). The two cases fall within a media streaming campaign in which the plaintiffs target “the standard for dynamic adaptive streaming delivery of MPEG media over HTTP, ISO/IEC 23009-1:2014, and subsequent versions of this standard” (MPEG-DASH). Both were filed in the Central District of California wing of the campaign, in which District Judge James V. Selna just held a claim construction hearing; a Markman hearing in the Delaware cases is currently scheduled for this May.
An early 2020 assignment from SK Planet (a subsidiary of SK Telecom) to NPE Helios Streaming, LLC is among the patent transactions made public by the USPTO this month. Meanwhile, multiple defendants in the NPE’s media streaming campaign—launched in 2019 with coplaintiff Ideahub, Inc. over former Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) patents—have filed Rule 12(b)(6) motions, one of which is scheduled to be (telephonically) heard this week.
The streaming campaign of Helios Streaming, LLC (as exclusive licensee) and Ideahub, Inc. (as patent owner) has expanded for the second month in a row. October saw a third Delaware suit, with CBS (Showtime) joining Crackle, Sony, and Walmart (VUDU), and others, as defendants there, while November has seen the plaintiffs file in the Central District of California, this time against Lions Gate Entertainment (Starz Entertainment) (8:19-cv-02140). Targeted is Starz’s media streaming service, with multiple patents originally developed in whole or in part by the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), patents assigned to the plaintiffs through a web of agreements seeming to preserve interests in the outcome of the litigation by certain nonparties—the plaintiffs’ recent notice of interested parties in California, identifying no such nonparties, notwithstanding.
The Federal Circuit has partially reversed and remanded a ruling by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that a device monitoring patent asserted by SIPCO LLC was eligible for covered business method (CBM) review, which led to a January 2018 final decision cancelling claims from the patent under Alice and Section 103. Ruling on September 25, a Federal Circuit majority held that the Board had relied upon an improper claim construction for its determination that the patent does not fall within an exception excluding patents that “solve . . . a technical problem using a technical solution” from CBM review (2018-1635). Inventor-controlled SIPCO has seen multiple changes in corporate ownership since the 2005 launch of its litigation campaign, including the publicly announced 2012 acquisition of part ownership stakes by General Electric and MPEG LA. A more recent change in ownership came with less fanfare: In early 2018, SIPCO disclosed in public filings that it is now wholly owned by Glocom, Inc., a Maryland company apparently led by the CEO of Korean patent monetization firm Ideahub, Inc., the latter of which has touted an investment in SIPCO. Ideahub has also just launched a push into US courts in its own right, cofiling litigation with new NPE plaintiff Helios Streaming, LLC.
Helios Streaming, LLC (as the asserted patents’ exclusive licensee) and Ideahub, Inc. (as their owner) have launched litigation over 11 patents allegedly related to the Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH, a/k/a MPEG-DASH) adaptive bitrate streaming standard, suing Crackle and Crackle Plus, Sony (Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony Pictures Television), and Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment (1:19-cv-01818) (the “Crackle defendants”) as well as Walmart (Vudu) (1:19-cv-01792). The District of Delaware complaints respectively target the Crackle/Crackle Plus and Vudu video on-demand services’ use of streaming with MPEG-DASH, detailing a series of attempts by Helios to contact Vudu between August 2018 and March 2019 and to contact the Crackle defendants between August 2018 and September 2019. The original development work for the patents-in-suit was conducted in whole or in part by the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI).