Monument’s Wireless Switch IP Agrees to Transfer Wi-Fi Campaign out of Texas

  • June 20, 2017

Monument Patent Holdings, LLC subsidiary Wireless Switch IP, LLC has consented to transfer its entire litigation campaign out of the Eastern District of Texas. In each of its three cases—filed in March against Acer (6:17-cv-00142), ASUS (6:17-cv-00141), and Lenovo (6:17-cv-00140)—the parties filed joint motions to transfer to the Northern District of California in early and mid-June, stipulating that the agreed-upon district is the proper venue in light of the US Supreme Court’s decision in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods Group Brands (2016-0341). Those motions have since been granted by Magistrate Judge John D. Love, and a California docket has since been opened for the suit against ASUS (5:17-cv-03514). In each case, Wireless Switch asserts two patents (7,356,351; 7,647,070) that generally relate to mobile devices that can shut off network connectivity while still providing “local functionality”, which Monument acquired from Intellectual Ventures LLC (IV) late last year. The accused products include laptops, tablets, and smartphones offering a switch that turns Wi-Fi functionality on and off.

The Supreme Court’s May 22 decision in TC Heartland returned a key portion of the patent venue statue, one that allows infringement suits to be brought where a defendant corporation “resides”, to its prior interpretation: a corporation “resides” only in the state in which it is formed. More information on TC Heartland can be found at “Supreme Court Returns to Narrower Patent Venue Statute” (May 2017), with additional analysis on how plaintiffs and defendants have reacted to the decision at “As Expected, TC Heartland Decision Triggers Flurry of Venue Filings” (June 2017).

The patents in the Wireless Switch IP family, which also includes four, unasserted family members (8,019,384; 8,175,642; 8,706,161; 9,055,426), issued between April 2008 and June 2015, with an estimated priority date in December 2000. The patents’ sole named inventor is Nitin Shah, an executive with ArrayComm between early 2000 and 2003. In December 2004, ArrayComm assigned rights in the patent family to Durham Logistics LLC (a Nevada company managed by Memscom LLC, a Delaware entity formed on September 7, 2004) before that entity merged into Xylon LLC (another Nevada company managed by yet another Delaware entity, this one Savantilogic LLC, also formed on September 7, 2004). Xylon assigned rights in the patent family to Intellectual Ventures I LLC in May 2016.

Shah currently holds himself out as a “Principal Innovator (and Disruptor)” with Nokia Networks, a position he has purportedly held since November 2013. USPTO records currently available to the public indicate that four US patents that issued with Shah as a named inventor are currently owned by Nokia (Alcatel-Lucent); three others (dating back to Shah’s reported ten-year employment with Bell Labs), by AT&T; and two others, generally related to targeted marketing over the Internet, by Bridge and Post, Inc., an Arkansas NPE. Bridge and Post asserted those two Shah patents (7,657,594; 8,862,747) against Verizon in a lawsuit filed in early February (3:17-cv-00094). In mid-March, Verizon filed a Rule 12 motion to dismiss under Alice, alleging that the ‘594 and ‘747 patents are invalid as directed to the abstract ideas of “targeted marketing” and “securely transmitting targeted marketing information”, respectively, without the addition of an inventive concept. The motion is currently being briefed. More details about that lawsuit can be found at “Targeted Marketing Programs of Verizon Wireless Accused of Infringement” (February 2017).

Monument is an affiliate of Texas-based patent monetization firm Dominion Harbor Group, LLC and has launched, through various affiliates, over a dozen litigation campaigns since early 2014, several of them asserting patents recently acquired from IV. More details about the NPEs’ recent activities can be found at “Monument’s Text Banking Campaign Proceeds in File-and-Dismiss Fashion, Adding JP Morgan Chase” (June 2017).

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