Intellectual Ventures’ Ends DRAM Litigation Campaign Launched in 2010

  • September 26, 2012

September 24, 2012 – Intellectual Ventures (IV) announced a settlement agreement with SK Hynix and Elpida to resolve all pending litigation with both companies.  In July 2011, IV filed suit against Acer, A-DATA, ASUS, Best Buy, Dell, Elpida, HP, Hynix, Kingston, Logitech, Pantech, and Wal-Mart, alleging that the defendants’ DRAM products infringe five patents generally related to memory devices. IV has reached settlement agreements and is in the process of dismissing three actions filed against SK Hynix and Elpida. The first of these three suits was filed in the District of Delaware on December 8, 2010 exclusively against Hynix and Elpida (Case No: 1-10-cv-01066).  The lawsuit accused the defendants’ DRAM and NAND flash memory products of infringing seven assets (5,581,513, 5,583,822, 5,598,375, 6,373,753, 6,455,937, 6,462,998, 7,444,563) it had obtained from Nippon Steel, Cirrus Logic, and two individual inventors (Robert Proebsting and James Cunningham).  This litigation, along with two others filed the same day (Intellectual Ventures I LLC et al v. Altera Corporation et. al, 1-10-cv01065, and Intellectual Ventures I LLC v. Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. Et al, 1-10-cv-01067), were the first litigations brought by IV.  Following this initial wave of enforcement against the semiconductor memory companies, IV filed another lawsuit with the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) (337-TA-803) in September 2011 and a companion District Court case in the Western District of Washington (Intellectual Ventures I LLC et al v. Hynix Semiconductor et al, 2-11-cv-01145) in July 11, 2011, alleging once again that the defendants’ DRAM and NAND Flash memory products infringe their patents.  In addition to once again targeting Elpida and Hynix, IV named competing Nanya as an additional manufacturer of semiconductor memory products, and pursuant to ITC requirements Acer, A-Data, ASUSTek, Dell, HP, Logitech, and Pantech as sellers/importers of mobile devices and consumer electronics equipment that contain the allegedly infringing memory products.  Best Buy and Wal-Mart were also named as retailers who import and sell the end devices to consumers.  This suit included five patent assets (5,982,696, 5,963,481, 5,687,132, 5,654,932, 5,500,819); four of the patents (’696, ’132, ’932, ’819) originated with Cirrus Logic and were assigned to an IV shell Huai Technologies before ending up in IV Fund I on 12/7/10, while the fifth asserted patent (’481) originated with Ramtron International before being assigned to IV shell Purple Mountain server and eventually IV Fund II on 12/7/10.  The District Court case was quickly stayed pending the resolution of the case before the ITC.  Pantech and Nanya quickly settled in October 2011 and mid-December 2011, respectively.  The case pursued at the normal accelerated pace of ITC litigation and a Markman hearing was held on April 17, 2012 and the Commission issued its claim constructions on August 8, 2012.  Shortly thereafter on September 24th, IV issued a statement announcing the settlement of all existing claims against Elpida and Hynix and announced its intentions to dismiss the other companies from the suits.  In this statement, IV’s VP and Chief Litigation Counsel, Melissa Finocchio, stated that, “[a]s much as [Intellectual Ventures] prefer to focus on investing in invention, occasionally we need to turn our attention to protecting those investments by enforcing our invention rights.  We’ll continue litigating when we need to, but we prefer to do deals across a conference room table with a handshake.”


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