Federal Circuit Faults PTAB’s CBM Eligibility Determination in AIA Review Against NPE Linked to Korean Monetization Firm

September 29, 2019

The Federal Circuit has partially reversed and remanded a ruling by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that a device monitoring patent asserted by SIPCO LLC was eligible for covered business method (CBM) review, which led to a January 2018 final decision cancelling claims from the patent under Alice and Section 103. Ruling on September 25, a Federal Circuit majority held that the Board had relied upon an improper claim construction for its determination that the patent does not fall within an exception excluding patents that “solve . . . a technical problem using a technical solution” from CBM review (2018-1635). Inventor-controlled SIPCO has seen multiple changes in corporate ownership since the 2005 launch of its litigation campaign, including the publicly announced 2012 acquisition of part ownership stakes by General Electric and MPEG LA. A more recent change in ownership came with less fanfare: In early 2018, SIPCO disclosed in public filings that it is now wholly owned by Glocom, Inc., a Maryland company apparently led by the CEO of Korean patent monetization firm Ideahub, Inc., the latter of which has touted an investment in SIPCO. Ideahub has also just launched a push into US courts in its own right, cofiling litigation with new NPE plaintiff Helios Streaming, LLC.

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