Delaware NPE Universal Cipher LLC has accused another round of retailers of infringing a patent generally related to “dynamic” text generation. This time, the NPE has sued Frys Electronics (2:19-cv-00409), GameStop (2:19-cv-00410), Office Depot (2:19-cv-00411), and Staples (2:19-cv-00412) over the sale of mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets made by Alphabet (Google), Apple, Lenovo (Motorola Mobility), Nokia, and others. This campaign began back in April 2018 with another entity, Texas’s Cumberland Systems, LLC, filing direct suits against Motorola Mobility and Nokia, suits that were quickly dismissed without prejudice.
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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Cumberland Systems, LLC has opened up a second litigation campaign, suing Lenovo (Motorola Mobility) (1:18-cv-00594) and Nokia (1:18-cv-00593) over the provision of smartphones using Google’s Android operating system and offering non-English touchscreen keyboards that present an alternate character selection menu after the user touches and holds a character. A single patent, generally related to “dynamic” text generation, is asserted in the new complaints. Cumberland received the patent in the same transaction that gave rise to its May 2017 password management campaign.