Ever More Plaintiffs File Litigation Against LED Lighting Companies
That portfolio of US patents that RPX recently identified as having been assigned in October 2019 by Sharp Electronics, now a Hon Hai subsidiary, to LedComm LLC are on the move again. Three of them, generally related to making LEDs (light emitting diodes), have been asserted in litigation by LedComm, an entity associated with monetization firm IPValuation Partners, LLC (d/b/a IPVal), against Anker Innovations (Fantasia Trading) (5:20-cv-00421), Sengled (1:20-cv-00956), and TP-Link Technologies (8:20-cv-00424). LedComm assigned nine others to Heavy Duty Lighting LLC, a new Texas entity associated with a prominent plaintiff-side law firm in the state.
LedComm asserts the same three patents (6,803,606; 7,012,277; 7,301,176) in each of its new cases, targeting the provision of various LED lighting products. LedComm identifies as its managing member Texas attorney Jason Bourgeois, one of the cofounders of IPVal, which was formed in August 2012 by three “portfolio managers”: Bourgeois together with Adam Baumli (who held former licensing positions with Dominion Harbor Enterprises, LLC and IP Navigation Group, LLC (d/b/a IPNav)) and Jonathan Szarzynski (who also held a past licensing position with IPNav). Szarzynski left IPVal, forming Endpoint IP LLC in August 2018 and reportedly taking with him over 20 patent assertion entities. IPVal experienced somewhat of a lull in its filing activities in the wake of Szarzynski’s departure, nevertheless ending 2019 among the most frequent NPE plaintiffs (see here for details).
Hao Ni of the Ni, Wang & Massand law firm is identified in state records as the manager of Heavy Duty, which was formed in Texas on February 17, 2020. The assignment from LedComm is dated three days later. Ni, Wang & Massand has represented many NPEs over the last several years, turning to monetization itself more recently. Last year, two associated entities, Driveprint LLC and Commstech LLC, launched litigation campaigns over patents received from Intellectual Ventures LLC. The Commstech campaign ended after six months. HP is the only defendant to date in the DrivePrint campaign; HP has answered and moved for early summary judgment of noninfringement (in a sealed filing) of one of the two patents asserted against it.
The LED lighting industry is no stranger to recent patent litigation. For example, as reported earlier this year, Bench Walk Lighting, LLC and The Regents of the University of California both have active campaigns, backed by litigation funders no less, targeting LED lighting companies. In its two Central District of California suits, LedComm has disclosed Sharp Kabushiki Kaisha as a nonparty having an interest in the outcome of the litigation. A one-page assessment of this campaign can be downloaded from RPX Insight here. 3/2, Anker, TP-Link, Central District of California; 3/2, Sengled, Northern District of Georgia.