In July 2018, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) saw the first new petition for inter partes review (IPR) filed against a Native American tribe since the Board’s March ruling that IPRs against tribes are not barred by sovereign immunity, a decision that was upheld by the Federal Circuit on July 20. Institution decisions were also issued by the Board in July for IPRs against Uniloc Corporation Pty. Limited and Sound View Innovations, LLC, among other notable plaintiffs. In addition, the PTAB issued final decisions throughout July for IPRs against a variety of other NPEs, from Intellectual Ventures LLC (which has continued to pursue its existing campaigns but has seemingly stopped filing new US litigation) to smaller entities like Andrea Electronics Corporation and XPRT Ventures LLC as well as individual inventor Daniel L. Flamm.
An affiliate of Empire IP LLC has kicked off a new campaign, asserting a “vertical handoff” patent in separate suits against AT&T (2:17-cv-04990) and T-Mobile (2:17-cv-04992). Vertical Connection Technologies LLC, formed by Empire IP principals Daniel Mitry and Timothy Salmon this past March, accuses each defendant of infringement through the provision of features within their networks that allow cellular calls to be handed off to Wi-Fi, and vice-versa.