Last month, RPXcovered the ramifications of an attempted transfer of control of certain patents, from a first Zeroclick, LLC, a subsidiary of Erich Spangenberg’s IPNav, to another Zeroclick, LLC, a Texas entity formed by the patents’ sole named inventor Nes Irvine. District Judge Jon S. Tigar ordered the original plaintiff to show cause why its September 2015 case, the first in the campaign, should not be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The parties responded; last week, Judge Tigar grantedApple’s motion to dismiss, ruling that the plaintiff lacked standing to pursue to the case, refusing to substitute the new Zeroclick for the old as a plaintiff, and striking “all proceedings in the action since December 2017” (when jurisdiction lapsed). Also last week, Apple filed a new case against Zeroclick, the more recent Zeroclick (5:20-cv-03898), seeking declaratory judgments of invalidity of the same two patents asserted in the now-dismissed suit.
In late April, District Judge Jon S. Tigar ordered plaintiff Zeroclick, LLC to show cause why its case against Apple in the Northern District of California should not be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Apple had filed its motion to dismiss after discovery suggested that the circumstances surrounding the transfer of control of the asserted patents, and of the plaintiff itself, from IPNav’s Erich Spangenberg to the sole named inventor Nes Irvine might have robbed Zeroclick—the Zeroclick that filed suit in September 2015—of its standing to sue. Zeroclick, Apple, and Irvine have responded to the California court’s order. Meanwhile, two of four defendants sued in an October 2019 expansion of the campaign in the Western District of Texas, Dell and Microsoft, each filed a motion to dismiss of its own late last week, while Zeroclick, LLC—presumably the newer Zeroclick entity reincorporated by Irvine—hit not only Dell (6:20-cv-00421) and Microsoft (6:20-cv-00423) but also prior defendants LG Electronics (LGE) (6:20-cv-00422) and Samsung (6:20-cv-00425) with apparent belt-and-suspenders suits in the same forum.
In June 2018, the Federal Circuit vacated a lower court order in which claims that Zeroclick, LLC had asserted against Apple in the Northern District of California were invalidated for indefiniteness. Roughly one year after remand, in June 2019, District Judge Jon S. Tigar handed down a new order, construing several disputed claim terms and rejecting Apple’s repeated indefiniteness arguments. Now, these several months later, Zeroclick has expanded its litigation campaign with a spate of new filings. The NPE accuses Dell (6:19-cv-00569), HP Enterprise (6:19-cv-00570), LG Electronics (LGE) (6:19-cv-00571), Microsoft (6:19-cv-00572), and Samsung (6:19-cv-00573) of infringing one or both of the patents already at issue against Apple, both generally related to a touch-only graphical user interface. The accused devices are various “touch screen computer products”.