Judge Refuses to Limit Number of Asserted Claims in MicroUnity Case
- June 13, 2012
June 12, 2012 – Judge Roy S. Payne of the Eastern District of Texas denied defendants’ motion to limit the number of asserted claims by plaintiff MicroUnity Systems Engineering (MicroUnity) [NPE]. MicroUnity initially asserted 361 claims from 16 patents from which the parties reached an agreement limiting the litigation to 90 claims from 14 patents. At the time of this ruling, there are 56 claims in dispute. The judge countered the defendants’ arguments that this still represented “an unmanageable number of claims and claims terms” by stating that the Court, “agrees that this case will need to be streamlined prior to trial, but assigning an arbitrary limit on the number of asserted claims or deciding which claims are duplicative is not the way to get there at this stage of the case. Instead, the parties should brief the claim terms that are the most likely to lead to a narrowing of the case once the terms are construed. The claim construction hearing will last no longer than three hours, and the ordinary page limits for briefing will apply.” MicroUnity (a former developer of media processors designed for digital media applications that appears to no longer have a commercial presence as an operating company) appears to hold 93 issued US patents according to USPTO records. MicroUnity has previously settled patent disputes with Acer, AMD, Dell, Intel, Precim Corp, and Sony. Though the settlement agreements with the other companies remain confidential, Intel reportedly paid $300 million to end its patent dispute with MicroUnity. Prior to 2006, MicroUnity filed four patent infringement suits against AMD, Dell, Intel, Precim Corp, and Sony. All four cases have been settled. In March 2010, MicroUnity filed its fourth patent suit after more than four years of inactivity. The complaint asserted 15 patents against 22 companies including Apple, AT&T, Cellco, Exedea, Google, HTC, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Palm, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sprint, and Texas Instruments for allegedly infringing patent 6,643,765. Accused products include mobile processors and devices that incorporate them. 6/7, Eastern District of Texas, Judge Roy S. Payne, 2:2012cv00091.