Solas OLED Ltd., an Irish corporation, v. Apple Inc. DC
- Filed: 09/12/2019
- Closed: 01/20/2021
- Latest Docket Entry: 01/20/2021
- All Upcoming Events:
March 12, 2022
Atlantic IP Services Limited has begun litigating the former Siemens patents that it received from a Fortress Investment Group LLC vehicle this past October. The Dublin-based monetization firm’s Ollnova Technologies Limited has filed suit against Alphabet (Google) (6:22-cv-00246) in the Western District of Texas, Carrier (9:22-cv-80388) in the Southern District of Florida, and ecobee (2:22-cv-00072) in the Eastern District of Texas, targeting the respective provision of various smart home products (primarily thermostats) with overlapping subsets of five such former Siemens patents. With these suits, Ollnova joins eight other Atlantic IP entities to litigate former operating company assets, including Arigna Technology Limited, which recently added a case against TCL (6:22-cv-00217) to one of its many such campaigns, and Sonraí Memory Limited, which just hit AMD (6:22-cv-00229) with a former Atmel patent following additional lawsuits filed against existing defendants Amazon (6:22-cv-00225), Dell (6:22-cv-00188), Kingston Technology (6:22-cv-00192), LG Electronics (LGE) (6:22-cv-00187), and Samsung (6:22-cv-00189).
June 19, 2021
Sonraí Memory Limited has sued Kingston Technology (8:21-cv-01039) and Western Digital (8:21-cv-01040) over the provision of devices that contain “SanDisk/Toshiba 64L 3D NAND flash chips”, as well as solid state drives (SSDs) that include Silicon Motion SSD controllers (Kingston) or Marvell SSD controllers (Western Digital). These new suits expand a campaign that started in February of this year with Western District of Texas cases against Alphabet (Google), LG Electronics (LGE), and Samsung and that proceeded with separate additional suits filed against Apple, Dell, and Kioxia in April, also in West Texas. The new litigation, by contrast, has been filed in the Central District of California.
May 23, 2021
An Eastern District of Texas jury has returned an infringement verdict in litigation filed by Acorn Semi, LLC against Samsung (2:19-cv-00347). On May 19, the jury found that the Samsung had infringed four semiconductor patents through the provision of wafers and processors manufactured using its 14 nm FinFET process technology as well as devices incorporating them, though it concluded that the company’s infringement had not been willful. The verdict also included a $25M damages award.
April 18, 2021
This year is off to an active start for a web of Irish NPEs litigating former operating company patents picked up from various sources. In February, Sonraí Memory Limited began two litigation campaigns, a first hitting Oracle over a former HP patent (development work having occurred before the split into HP Enterprise (HPE) and HP Inc.) and a second accusing Alphabet (Google), LG Electronics (LGE), and Samsung of infringing one former Atmel patent and another patent originally developed at HP. Last week, the same Irish NPE added a suit against Dell (6:21-cv-00361) to the latter campaign, accusing it of infringing that Atmel patent, as well as two additional patents, also acquired through Microchip Technology. Meanwhile, Arigna Technology Limited amended its Texas complaint against a fleet of automakers to assert a second former Mitsubishi Electric patent, as well as to add GM as a defendant, and Solas OLED Limited has followed up its recent East Texas trial win against Samsung with a new suit asserting two former Casio patents against BOE Technology (2:21-cv-00121).
March 11, 2021
Since last July, RPX has highlighted a growing web of Irish NPEs linked to Magnetar Capital—a hedge fund with $12.3B in assets under management—that have acquired and increasingly asserted former operating company patents. One of those NPEs has just taken a case to trial: on March 8, an Eastern District of Texas jury returned a partial infringement verdict for plaintiff Solas OLED Limited, finding that Samsung infringed two display patents through the provision of certain smartphones. Solas OLED was awarded a combined $62.7M in damages. However, the jury also concluded that the asserted claims from a third patent are invalid. The patent trial appears to be the first before District Judge Rodney Gilstrap since the expiration of his November order halting all such trials due to COVID-19.
March 5, 2021
Signs abound that wealthy investors are doubling down on patent litigation. Take for example the new suits recently filed by two NPEs holding large portfolios of former operating company patents, each backed by a private equity firm or hedge fund. As a recent RPX analysis shows, the economic risk posed by these types of NPEs is significant—and may be increasing.
November 25, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced courts to rethink many aspects of the patent litigation process. While a number of district judges have moved hearings and other procedures online, the nation’s top patent venues effectively suspended jury trials through most of the summer—until District Judge Rodney Gilstrap of the Eastern District of Texas resumed patent trials in August after local infection rates began to fall. However, as the pandemic moves further into its second wave, Judge Gilstrap has now taken the notable step of halting all jury trials before him after a coronavirus outbreak during a trial under another judge in the Eastern District. Judge Gilstrap stated that he was doing so “reluctantly” but asserted that he had no alternative—arguing that the face-to-face aspect of in-person trials is essential for due process.
October 1, 2020
The mid-pandemic trial between Irish NPE Solas OLED Limited and Samsung, set to start Monday, October 5 before District Judge Rodney Gilstrap in the Eastern District of Texas, has been postponed. Last week, Samsung filed an unopposed motion to continue the trial because one of its “key expert witnesses, located in West Virginia, is unavailable to travel to Texas to testify live at trial. He is also unable to sit for a remote trial deposition by video”. Judge Gilstrap ordered the case “removed from the October trial docket”, with a subsequent order to calendar the trial “at a later date”. The next day, the court did issue an order, not setting trial but ruling on a host of the parties’ motions in limine and dispositive motions.
September 20, 2020
As Irish NPE Solas OLED Limited and Samsung make final preparations for an October 5, 2020 trial before District Judge Rodney Gilstrap in the Eastern District of Texas, Solas OLED has filed a new round of suits in the same campaign. One of those cases hits Samsung (2:20-cv-00307) with a second East Texas complaint, while three of them hit prior defendants Apple (6:20-cv-00840) and Dell (6:20-cv-00841) as well as LG Display, LG Electronics (LGE), and Sony (sued together in the same action, 6:20-cv-00839) with one suit each, all filed in the Western District of Texas, where a new defendant has been added to the campaign, Lenovo (Motorola Mobility) (6:20-cv-00842). In litigation filed starting in April 2019, Solas OLED continues to target display panels used in a wide variety of devices.
February 4, 2020
The Litigation Finance Journal recently reported that Swiss private bank Syz Group is looking to invest in litigation finance, in part due to the “recession-proof” features associated with that asset class. As reported by RPX throughout 2019, litigation finance firms have experienced record fundraising in recent years, with private equity firms and hedge funds—such as Magnetar Capital—seeking opportunities to invest in uncorrelated assets that can withstand, or even perform well in, the next economic downturn.
October 25, 2019
Solas OLED Limited has added a sixth case to its display panel campaign, hitting HP (6:19-cv-00631) over the provision of Spectre x360 Laptops. HP joins Alphabet (Google), Apple, Dell, LG Display and LG Electronics (LGE) (named in the same complaint), and Sony as defendants in the Western District of Texas, each of which has yet to file an answer (or otherwise respond to) the complaint filed against it; Samsung, a defendant in the Eastern District of Texas, has answered, pleading counterclaims for noninfringement and invalidity, as well as a counterclaim for unenforceability of one of the three patents asserted against it, based on alleged inequitable conduct before the USPTO.
2019 Marketplace Trends: As Private Equity’s Interest in Patent Litigation Grows, a Better-Capitalized Breed of NPEs Has EmergedOctober 12, 2019
Litigation finance firms have experienced record fundraising in recent years, with private equity firms and hedge funds looking for opportunities to invest in uncorrelated assets that can withstand, or even perform well in, the next economic downturn. With large amounts of capital on hand, and therefore fewer concerns about diversifying their investments, multi-strategy funds are proving to be attractive investment partners for standalone litigation funders. Through such partnerships, a new breed of NPEs has emerged—one backed by more copious and patient capital than those of years past. This article, the first in a series covering the evolving sources of capital for NPEs today, takes a look at two private equity firms and a hedge fund backing notable NPE campaigns.
September 12, 2019
In December 2018, Irish entity Solas OLED Limited augmented its sizeable portfolio of patents, received from Casio in April 2016, with an additional set of assets received from Microchip Technology (Atmel) and one additional patent received from the University of Stuttgart. The patents generally relate to various aspects of display panels, and Solas OLED began asserting them in litigation by suing LG Display, LG Electronics (LGE), and Sony in the Western District of Texas, later adding cases against Samsung (in the Eastern District of Texas) and Alphabet (Google) and Dell (back in the Western District of Texas). With subsequent amendments to its early complaints and with a new case filed in the Western District against Apple (6:19-cv-00537), Solas OLED has now brought all of this litigation into a single display panel campaign.
Solas OLED Expands Both of Its Display Panel Campaigns, Adding Two Patents to Each and Filing New Complaints Against Dell and GoogleAugust 31, 2019
In early May, Irish NPE Solas OLED Limited sued Samsung in the Eastern District of Texas over a former Atmel patent generally related to a flexible touch sensor comprising a conductive mesh grid and a flexible substrate that are “configured to wrap around one or more edges of a display”. On August 23, the plaintiff amended that complaint to add allegations of infringement of two more display panel patents. Last week, Solas OLED filed separate complaints in the Western District of Texas asserting both of those additional patents against Alphabet (Google) (6:19-cv-00515) and one of them against Dell (6:19-cv-00514), with infringement allegations targeting products with organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays and calling out Google’s Pixel 3XL smartphone and Dell’s Venue 8 tablet.
April 1, 2019
Solas OLED Limited, an NPE formed in Ireland in March 2016, has filed suit against LG Display, LG Electronics (LGE), and Sony (6:19-cv-00236), targeting OLED (“organic light-emitting diode”) display panels made by LG Display and incorporated into televisions made by LGE and Sony. A single patent, received from the University of Stuttgart and generally related to a “driving circuit” for “image points” on an OLED screen, is asserted in the complaint. Solas OLED, an affiliate of Data Scape Limited, another Irish NPE with an ongoing litigation campaign, touts a worldwide portfolio of patents purportedly covering “all critical areas of OLED structures, display design/architecture, and driver circuitry”.