At the end of October, another Texas jury returned a $500M-plus verdict in favor of VirnetX Inc. against Apple. While 2020 has not been all roses for patent plaintiffs—recall that a few weeks earlier, Roku won a noninfringement verdict in litigation filed by inventor-controlled NPE MV3 Partners LLC in District Judge Alan D. Albright’s first patent jury trial since he took the bench—the most recent VirnetX verdict does join a string of high-dollar awards in patent infringement cases this year.
A Western District of Texas jury has returned a noninfringement verdict for Roku in litigation filed by inventor-controlled NPE MV3 Partners LLC, finding that certain of the company’s media players and TVs do not infringe a patent generally related to mobile set-top boxes. This closely watched patent trial was the first over which District Judge Alan D. Albright has presided since taking the bench in late 2018—and began drawing patent litigation to West Texas. It was also the first trial to be held in his district since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
District Judge Alan D. Albright has issued a new divisional standing order announcing that “bench and jury trials in the Waco Division [of the Western District of Texas] will resume as early as October 1, 2020”. The order grounds the reopening in an estimate that the “Waco Division counties have just 2.44%” of the active cases in Texas and in planned precautions once the courthouse opens up for trials, one of which could very well be Judge Albright’s first since taking the bench.
Inventor-controlled MV3 Partners LLC has added cases against two retailers—Best Buy (6:18-cv-00374) and Kohl’s (6:18-cv-00373)—to the suit that it filed this past October directly against Roku (6:18-cv-00308), all in the Western District of Texas. The complaints all assert a single patent, generally related to mobile set top boxes. The October suit targets Roku’s manufacture and sale of Roku TV, Roku’s media players, such as the Roku Ultra, Roku Express, Roku Express+, Roku Premiere, Roku Premiere+, Roku Streaming Stick, Roku Streaming Stick+, and Roku’s related Roku mobile app. The new suits take aim at the retailers’ sale of such Roku streaming media devices.