Judge Alsup Declines to Revisit Ruling on Apple-Uniloc Standing Battle but Allows Discovery on Fortress Agreements

August 9, 2019

An ongoing dispute over standing in litigation between Apple and Uniloc Corporation Pty. Limited (Uniloc) continues to evolve. Last year, Apple sought the dismissal of four of Uniloc’s cases against it after learning of a complex set of agreements between the NPE and Fortress Investment Group LLC, arguing that Uniloc’s alleged “defaults” under those agreements had deprived Uniloc of standing by automatically shifting certain rights in the asserted patents to Fortress. District Judge William Alsup of the Northern District of California denied that motion in January, instead holding that Fortress had shown through its conduct that Uniloc had cured any such defaults. On August 7, Judge Alsup declined Apple’s request to reconsider that ruling but included two notable exceptions that could leave the door open for further litigation on standing: he permitted Apple to later seek a trial on the issues of default and cure and allowed it to seek discovery on those same topics. Judge Alsup’s decision to approve discovery is a notable setback for Uniloc, which continues to fight a prior order requiring it to disclose a variety of information about its agreements with Fortress, its prior licenses, and other related documents.

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