Former Linex Patents Continue to Spread Through IP Edge Entities

  • November 16, 2019
  • Category: Patent Market, Patent Watch

This past April Zyrcuits IP LLC, an entity affiliated with monetization firm IP Edge LLC, picked up a portfolio of 30 US patents, generally related to spread-spectrum wireless data transmission, from NPE Linex Technologies, Inc. In the months since then, that portfolio has given rise to four litigation campaigns: the first by Zyrcuits IP itself (at the end of August), the second by Aperture Net LLC (at the end of September), and two more, by Hydro Net LLC and by Stormborn Technologies LLC, respectively (at the end of October). On October 24, a subset of those former Linex patents were transferred from Zyrcuits IP to new IP Edge entity Pinnacle Licensing LLC, raising the possibility that the end of November might bring yet more litigation over this portfolio.

Zyrcuits IP’s campaign has targeted smart home devices supporting the ZigBee wireless network protocol with one of those former Linex patents (6,671,307). In late August, the entity hit Control4, Samsung, Signify, Spectrum Brands, and Wink Labs, adding cases against Assa Abloy, eZLO, Robert Bosch, and SengLED in late September, roughly two weeks after the plaintiff unloaded other Linex patents to sister IP Edge entities: two to Aperture Net (6,269,092; 6,711,204), two to Hydro Net (6,314,126; 7,187,706), and four to Stormborn Technologies (6,289,039; 6,895,037; RE44,199, a reissue of 7,613,247). (All of the Zyrcuits IP cases remain open as of the date of this article.) With the October 24 assignment to Pinnacle Licensing, currently available USPTO assignment records suggest that Zyrcuits IP now holds three patents: the ‘307 patent together with two other former Linex patents (6,353,627; 7,876,709) it has yet to assert in litigation.

Aperture Net has targeted the provision of mobile devices (e.g., cellular gateways, mobile computers, and smartphones) compatible with the Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) standard. The NPE sued BlackBerry, BLU Products, LG Electronics (LGE), Sony, and ZTE in late September, adding cases against Honeywell, HTC, Kyocera, Lenovo (Motorola Mobility), Razer, and UNICOM Global (US Robotics), all over the ‘204 patent alone. Each of these cases remains open in the earliest stages of litigation, across multiple districts. Further information about Aperture Net’s new campaign can be read here.

Hydro Net has asserted the ‘706 patent, broadly addressing “handoff of a remote station, between base stations”, in separate complaints filed against Beijer Electronics (Westermo Data Communication), Casa Systems (Netcomm Wireless), CradlePoint, and UNICOM Global (US Robotics). The accused products are networking devices (e.g., Netcomm’s NWL-25-02 4G LTE Light Industrial M2M Router, CradlePoint’s COR IBR600C Series IoT routers, the USR3513 Cellular Gateway, and Westermo’s 4G LTE Gateway/Router MRD-405, respectively). Further details concerning Hydro Net’s campaign, of which all cases remain open, are available here.

The defendants in the litigation campaign of Stormborn Technologies—CalAmp, GE (GE MDS), Hexagon (Leica Geosystems), Trimble, and UNICOM Global (US Robotics)—are accused of infringement through the provision of devices compatible with the HSPA telecommunication standard, including the CalAmp TTU-1230 asset tracking device; the Leica iCON gps 80 receiver; the GE MDS Orbit wireless network platform; the Trimble TDC150 handheld receiver; and the Courier USR3513 Cellular Gateway, respectively. All cases in this campaign (further background here) are also open.

Prior to its deal with IP Edge, Linex did litigate patents from its portfolio; see here for a deeper dive into that past activity.

IP Edge was formed in Texas in July 2015 by Texas attorneys Gautham (Gau) Bodepudi, Sanjay Pant, and Lillian Woung. It has begun roughly 90 litigation campaigns both before (directly through its founders) and after its formation. Before the US Supreme Court handed down its May 2017 TC Heartland decision on proper venue in patent cases, IP Edge had established a pattern of forming litigating entities in Texas, identifying as managers of those entities longtime residents of Texas, and filing waves of litigation in the Eastern District of Texas. Since then, IP Edge has continued to form litigating entities in Texas, like Aperture Net, Hydro Net, Sonohm Licensing, and Zyrcuits IP, naming Texas residents as their managers: Tri Lam (for Aperture), John Rathgeber (for Hydro), and Anthony Wang (for both Sonohm and Zyrcuits).

Pinnacle Licensing was formed in Texas on October 18. (Its managing member is Jason Nguyen.) It now holds 19 of those former Linex patents. It is unclear whether IP Edge moved those patents to reduce the portfolio of Zyrcuits IP to just the three patents by parking the rest with Pinnacle or to facilitate yet another litigation campaign from the assets through Pinnacle (or through still other IP Edge entities). Indeed, IP Edge has recently formed other Texas entities—for example, Pivital IP LLC was also formed on October 18 (naming Brittany Nguyen as its managing member). However, publicly available records do not yet reflect the movement of any patent assets to Pivital IP.

Of late, IP Edge’s filing activity has occurred in definite bursts, at the end of each month, suggesting that the motivation behind this assignment of assets, if ever revealed, might become clearer at the end of this month…or next.

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