In January 2020, Acacia Research Corporation subsidiary Monarch Networking Solutions LLC kicked off a new networking campaign, suing Charter Communications and Cisco in the Eastern District of Texas—litigation that now faces trouble due to a dispute over the ownership of the asserted patents. In late 2019, Slingshot Technologies LLC sued Acacia, one of its directors, and Transpacific IP Group Limited, from which Acacia acquired the patents, alleging before the Delaware Court of Chancery that the parties improperly prevented Slingshot from acquiring the patents despite holding an option to purchase them. Among other claims for relief, Slingshot seeks to rescind the sale to Acacia and allow Slingshot to purchase the patents itself, prompting Acacia to seek dismissal of that cause of action. That battle still hangs over the Texas litigation, as Cisco has now renewed a motion to stay the case, arguing that the Delaware action could deprive Monarch of standing. While the NPE has previously countered that rescission is impossible under Delaware law, a recent decision by the state court indicates otherwise.
Monarch Networking Solutions LLC has filed a new suit against Cisco, together with its subsidiaries Duo Security (acquired in 2018) and Meraki (acquired in 2012)(6:20-cv-00381), over the provision of network devices that use Cisco’s Meraki Cloud Hosted Authentication or Duo Security platforms. The Acacia subsidiary asserts a single patent, sourced from Siemens and generally related to accessing a network through communication between an authenticating device and station. The new case, initially assigned to Judge Alan D. Albright in the Western District of Texas, comes as Judge Rodney Gilstrap of the Eastern District of Texas considers a motion by Charter Communications and Cisco to stay a January 2020 case to await the outcome of a dispute over the ownership of the patents that Monarch Networking has asserted there.
Acacia Research Corporation has initiated its first litigation campaign of 2020 with an Eastern District of Texas complaint filed by subsidiary Monarch Networking Solutions LLC against Charter Communications and Cisco (2:20-cv-00015). The NPE accuses Cisco of infringing four networking patents, developed at France Telecom, through the provision of certain switches, routers, and gateways, with additional infringement allegations as to Charter over two of those patents. Monarch discloses in the new complaint—“out of an abundance of caution”—that its ownership of the portfolio has been disputed, in a case before the Delaware Chancery Court, by Slingshot Technologies LLC.
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