The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) has seen a variety of challenges to the America Invents Act (AIA) review regime since its inception, including some lawsuits in the past few years that have alleged that this system is structurally biased against patent owners. Among them were a pair of cases alleging in part that the Board’s compensation scheme for its Administrative Patent Judges (APJs) incentivized the institution of non-meritorious petitions by basing bonus payments on the number of trials instituted—an argument that the Federal Circuit rejected last October. Now, the Western District of Tennessee has dismissed a different case alleging structural bias, this one based on a Supreme Court ruling allowing damages claims for constitutional violations by federal officials.
Inventor-controlled B.E. Technology, L.L.C. has filed two new suits in the litigation campaign that it began back in 2012 with a slew of Western District of Tennessee cases against Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble (later acquired by Elliott Capital Advisors), Facebook, Groupon, IAC/InterActive (Match.com), Lenovo (Motorola Mobility), Liberty Media (Pandora), LinkedIn (later acquired by Microsoft), Match Group (People Media), Microsoft, Samsung, Sony, and Spark Networks. The new defendants are familiar: Google (1:20-cv-00622) and Twitter (1:20-cv-00621), each sued in the District of Delaware. At issue are features within the defendants’ respective advertisement products for generating advertisements based on users’ Internet activity. B.E. Technology’s three patents, belonging to the same family with two members previously asserted, broadly relate to generating targeted advertisements based on keywords displayed on a user’s webpage.
B.E. Technology [NPE] filed three separate suits against Groupon, Pandora Media, and Twitter, alleging that the defendants’ method of providing demographically targeted advertising infringes a patent related to providing an automatically upgradeable software application that includes targeted advertising based on demographics and user interaction with the computer. B.E. Technology filed three prior suits against Amazon Digital Services, Facebook, and LinkedIn on September 7, 2012. Martin David Hoyle is the named inventor on the patent-in-suit, which he assigned to B.E. Technology in January 2001. 9/10, Western District of Tennessee, no judge yet assigned, 2:2012cv02781; 2:2012cv02782; 2:2012cv02783.
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