In conjunction with a motion to dismiss its January 2021 district court case for improper venue, Facebook subsidiary WhatsApp (3:21-cv-03076) has filed a Northern District of California complaint against AGIS Holdings Inc. subsidiary AGIS Software Development LLC (ASD), seeking declaratory judgments of noninfringement for six cellular communications patents through its provision of the WhatsApp Messenger platform. Since launching its sole litigation campaign in May 2014, AGIS Holdings, through its controlled entities, has sued more than ten defendants over various hardware and software products, with features such as location sharing, mobile communications, and lost device tracking at issue.
Last week, District Judge Rodney Gilstrap stayed a set of Eastern District of Texas cases filed in November 2019 by AGIS Software Development LLC against Alphabet (Google, Waze Mobile) and Samsung. The court did so even though the stay “comes late in the progression of this case—with discovery complete, pretrial briefing submitted, and jury selection pending”. Judge Gilstrap ruled that because all the asserted claims of the six patents-in-suit, generally related to mobile messaging, are now subject to granted ex parte reexaminations, the prejudice to the plaintiff inherent in any delay, the maturity of the litigation notwithstanding, “is outweighed by the benefit of such parallel review”. Notably, Google and Samsung filed the requests for ex parte reexam of the last two patents only after the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) exercised discretion under “the NHK-Fintiv rule” to deny institution of inter partes review (IPR)—based on petitions asserting the exact same grounds.
As the last of the suits in its June 2017 wave ends, AGIS Software Development LLC has filed another, accusing Alphabet (Google, Waze Mobile) (2:19-cv-00361, 2:19-cv-00359) and Samsung (2:19-cv-00362) of infringing various members of a family of patents generally related to messaging on mobile devices. The plaintiff appears as committed as ever to litigating in Texas, where it was formed in June 2017, again filing in the Eastern District there. AGIS Software immediately dismissed its first-wave suit against ZTE in the Eastern District of Texas after District Judge Rodney Gilstrap ordered the case transferred to the Northern District of California for improper venue in Texas.