Having filed nine patent cases in September of this year, Express Mobile, Inc. has added another round, bringing the total number of the plaintiff’s 2020 lawsuits to 16. The new defendants are Adobe (X.Commerce (d/b/a Magento)) (3:20-cv-08297), Amazon (3:20-cv-08339), Booking Holdings (3:20-cv-08491), Pinterest (3:20-cv-08335), Salesforce (3:20-cv-08461), SAP (3:20-cv-08492), and Verizon (Oath) (3:20-cv-08321), all sued in the Northern District of California. Five patents, generally related to a browser-based tool for building webpages or to the creation of device-independent mobile apps that use web services, are asserted across these complaints, filed in a campaign that has now seen over 95 defendants hit since it began back in April 2015.
A recent privilege log ruling from Delaware District Judge Richard G. Andrews provides a rare, public glimpse into the pre-suit phase of an NPE’s monetization strategy. That December 3 order details how a now-prolific litigant spent over two years—starting at least in “early 2013, and probably by some time in 2011 or 2012”—gearing up for a litigation campaign launched in 2015. The plaintiff, per the court, had “multiple outside lawyers, most of whose roles are not entirely clear” and as having “various non-lawyer employees, directors, and consultants, who seemed to spend quite a bit of time drafting claim charts relating to potential infringement by dozens (if not hundreds) of companies”. Noting that the connection of the latter group “to the work of any of the lawyers is, for the most part, obscure”, Judge Andrews proceeded to require the disclosure of 11 of 13 disputed documents in a memorandum order that provides some guidance as to how the documents generated by such pre-suit activity might be handled, later, in the discovery phase of later litigation.
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In response to recent motions for convenience transfers out of Delaware, District Judges Richard G. Andrews and Colm F. Connolly both acknowledged that a plaintiff’s choice of forum should be given “paramount consideration”. However, from there, the two appear to diverge about what “paramount consideration” means when the plaintiff does not have a physical presence in Delaware, but is only incorporated in the state, as is frequently the case.
In June 2020, in a Delaware declaratory judgment action brought by Shopify, District Judge Richard G. Andrews handed down an order construing several disputed claim terms from the five patents at issue in Express Mobile, Inc.’s web-building campaign. The order is one of several to construe claim terms from Express Mobile’s patents, following opinions from the Eastern District of Texas (in February 2018) and the Northern District of California (that September). The patent holder has now filed a wave of new cases for the sixth year in a row, suing Alphabet (Google) (6:20-cv-00804), Atlassian (6:20-cv-00805), Dropbox (6:20-cv-00806), eBay (6:20-cv-00802), Expedia (6:20-cv-00801), Facebook (6:20-cv-00803), HubSpot (1:20-cv-01162), Microsoft (3:20-cv-06152), and Squarespace (1:20-cv-01163) over the provision of web-based platforms and related apps and software.
Express Mobile, Inc. has filed a slew of new cases in its litigation campaign, which has been targeting web authoring tools since April 2015. The complaints have been filed in either the District of Delaware or the Northern District of California, alleging infringement by nearly two dozen companies over their use of Drupal, Joomla, Magento, and/or WordPress. A Markman hearing in a declaratory judgment action, filed by X.Commerce (d/b/a Magento) in the Northern District of California, was held in May 2018. The court sought post-hearing briefing on previously construed or agreed-upon terms, in response to which the parties submitted the constructions of the Eastern District of Texas in a February 2018 order from a case consolidated across multiple defendants there. District Judge Richard Seeborg has yet to issue a claim construction ruling.