Still Waging a Campaign over Former ETRI Patents, Ideahub’s Helios Streaming Acquires a Portfolio from SK Planet

  • April 22, 2020
  • Category: COVID-19, Patent Market, Patent Watch
    Tag: COVID-19

An early 2020 assignment from SK Planet (a subsidiary of SK Telecom) to NPE Helios Streaming, LLC is among the patent transactions made public by the USPTO this month. Meanwhile, multiple defendants in the NPE’s media streaming campaign—launched in 2019 with coplaintiff Ideahub, Inc. over former Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) patents—have filed Rule 12(b)(6) motions, one of which is scheduled to be (telephonically) heard this week.

SK Planet to Helios Streaming

In a series of assignments executed on February 21, 2020, SK Planet assigned a total of nine homegrown US assets to Helios Streaming, along with a number of counterparts in Asia; the assignment was recorded with the USPTO on April 15. The transacted assets, which have not been asserted in any litigation to date, generally concern “reproducing a digital content”, “providing a digital TV application”, and various aspects of video streaming. They can be reviewed on RPX Insight here.

Currently available USPTO records do not identify any other US assets held by Helios Streaming besides those received from SK Planet.

The Helios Streaming and Ideahub Campaign

In late 2019, Helios Streaming and Ideahub (disclosed in a recently filed amended corporate disclosure statement as the former’s corporate parent) launched a campaign targeting media streaming providers, hitting CBS (Showtime); Crackle and Crackle PlusSony (Sony Pictures EntertainmentSony Pictures Television), and Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment (the “Crackle defendants”); Lions Gate Entertainment (Starz); and Walmart (VUDU). In total, eleven patents, originally developed in whole or in part by ETRI and generally related to the MPEG-DASH standard, are asserted. At the start of the campaign, in September 2019, RPX flagged a web of agreements seeming to preserve interest in the outcome of the Helios Streaming campaign by certain nonparties, including ETRI, Intellectual Discovery Co., Ltd., and Korea Aerospace University; see “Recent Media Streaming Campaign Expands Outside of Delaware” (November 2019) for more details.

While Showtime and Starz have answered the complaints filed against them, the Crackle defendants as well as Vudu have filed motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim (see here and here, respectively). Vudu’s motion is scheduled to be heard—telephonically, presumably in light of COVID-19—on April 29.

More on Ideahub and Its Associated NPEs

On its website, Ideahub describes itself as a Korean patent monetization firm, based in Seoul, hoping to “be a connecting port for such [] ideas, just like a HUB airport”. Kyeong-su “Keith” Im identifies himself as having been the CEO and president of Ideahub since October 2016. He reports past work with LG Electronics from January 1996 through April 2012, with a subsequent position (as “IP Licensing Director”) with Intellectual Discovery from May 2012 to June 2013, followed by the time as “Senior Director” with TiVo/Rovi.

Ideahub’s also website indicates that it shares management with Glocom, Inc., the parent entity of litigating NPEs Modern Telecom Systems, LLC and SIPCO LLC. (Blockchain-centric LegalBlock includes Kyeong-su Im among its legal team, describing him as the CEO of both Ideahub and Glocom.) SIPCO recently added an April case against HP Enterprise (Aruba Networks) to the two suits that it filed last month—one against each of D-Link and TP-Link; see “SIPCO Expands One of the Longest Running Active Litigation Campaigns” (April 2020) for more details.

Litigation by these and other NPEs apparently associated plaintiffs appear to fit into a set of five “licensing programs” described on Ideahub’s website—IOT and Industrial Automation, Wireless & Telecommunication, MPEG Audio, AR & VR, and Video Entertainment—consideration of which can be reviewed at “Former Imbera Electronics Assets Appear Headed Toward Assertion” (March 2020).

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