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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Balor Audio LLC, a Texas NPE created this past January, has initiated a litigation campaign, suing Avid Technology (1:18-cv-11662) and Mark of the Unicorn (1:18-cv-11663). The new complaints assert a single patent, generally related to audio signal generation, with infringement allegations focused on the provision of audio workstation software: Avid Technology’s Pro Tools and Mark of the Unicorn’s Digital Performer. Balor Audio’s patent-in-suit is the fourth of four patents transferred late last year from German computer software company Nero AG to affiliated NPEs to be asserted in court.