Past Texas Fixture IP Edge Launches New Litigation Campaign in Delaware

June 7, 2017

Olive Shade LLC, an apparent affiliate of Texas monetization firm IP Edge LLC, has filed suit against Becton Dickinson (CareFusion) (1:17-cv-00690) and Meps Real-Time (1:17-cv-00689) in Delaware. The complaints assert a single patent (6,861,954) generally related to using RFID (radio frequency identification) to track medical devices; the defendants are accused of infringement through provision of their medical inventory management solutions (IMPRESS Track System and Intelliguard RFID solution, respectively). This litigation campaign is the first to be launched by an IP Edge affiliate outside of the Eastern District of Texas and follows two campaigns by IP Edge affiliates, one brought a week before the US Supreme Court issued its TC Heartland decision on patent venue (by Kaldren LLC in New York) and the other brought three days after that decision (by Venadium LLC in Illinois), in which a round of suits has been added to an existing litigation campaign, begun in Texas, outside of that state.

The plaintiff alleges that CareFusion and Meps Real-time are both Delaware corporations with principal places of business in the San Diego area. Olive Shade alleges proper venue in Delaware based on residence in the state, as well as on purported acts of infringement, together with “a regular and established place of business”, in the district. Given Delaware residence, however, the complaints’ venue allegations elaborate little further on any such places of business.

IP Edge was formed in Texas in July 2015 by Gautham (Gau) Bodepudi, Sanjay Pant, and Lillian Woung, and has initiated over 45 litigation campaigns both before (directly through its founders) and after its formation, previously all in the Eastern District of Texas. IP Edge has developed a pattern of naming as the manager or managing member of each of its litigating NPEs a longstanding resident of Texas, presumably to shore up any opposition it might have to file against motions to dismiss or transfer out of the Eastern District. Olive Shade was formed in Texas on February 1, 2017 with Tiffany Halfon as managing member. Halfon is also the managing member of apparent IP Edge affiliate Guada Technologies LLC, which launched a litigation campaign over an information processing patent in the Eastern District of Texas. A Tiffany Halfon identifies herself as the director of the Smart Financial Foundation at Smart Financial Credit Union in the Houston, Texas area.

The ‘954 patent issued in March 2005, the first in a family of two with estimated priority date in June 2000. Its sole named inventor, Bruce H. Levin, appears to have created a Delaware entity, BHL Patent Holdings LLC, in March 2013 to hold the patent, as well as several other patents generally related to medical devices, until it was apparently assigned to Olive Shade. The NPE pleads that it “owns all rights of recovery under the ‘954 patent, including the exclusive right to recover for past infringement”, although USPTO records do not yet reflect any such assignment of rights. (Earlier in the complaint, Olive Shade ascribes to the ‘954 patent the erroneous title, “Method and Apparatus for Peer-to-Peer Communication”; rather, it is titled “Tracking medical products with integrated circuits”.)

RPX reported last week on how the US Supreme Court’s patent venue decision has effected IP Edge’s varied litigation campaigns; see “IP Edge Faces Consequences of TC Heartland on Multiple Fronts” (May 2017). More information on TC Heartland can be found at “Supreme Court Returns to Narrower Patent Venue Statute” (May 2017), with additional analysis about the decision’s potential effects and limitations at “Full Significance of TC Heartland Lies in Nuances of Court’s Decision” (May 2017). 6/6, District of Delaware.