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Each week, RPX publishes the latest news on patent litigation and market trends. Never miss a headline. Get them delivered right to your inbox.
Express Mobile Hits Nearly Two Dozen Defendants in California and Delaware
August 12, 2018
E-Commerce and Software, New Patent Litigation
Express Mobile, Inc. has filed a slew of new cases in its litigation campaign, which has been targeting web authoring tools since April 2015. The complaints have been filed in either the District of Delaware or the Northern District of California, alleging infringement by nearly two dozen companies over their use of Drupal, Joomla, Magento, and/or WordPress. A Markman hearing in a declaratory judgment action, filed by X.Commerce (d/b/a Magento) in the Northern District of California, was held in May 2018. The court sought post-hearing briefing on previously construed or agreed-upon terms, in response to which the parties submitted the constructions of the Eastern District of Texas in a February 2018 order from a case consolidated across multiple defendants there. District Judge Richard Seeborg has yet to issue a claim construction ruling.
Sentius Revives Spellcheck Campaign Against Smartphone Makers
August 12, 2018
E-Commerce and Software, New Patent Litigation
Sentius International, LLC has rebooted its litigation campaign, filing two new lawsuits, one each against HTC (1:18-cv-01216) and LG Electronics (LGE) (1:18-cv-01217) in the District of Delaware. The complaints assert only one of the two reissued patents most recently at issue in this campaign; in the NPE’s last open case, filed in the Eastern District of Texas against BlackBerry, District Judge Rodney Gilstrap invalidated the sole asserted claim from the other patent for impermissible claim broadening through reissue proceedings. Both patents generally concern parsing and annotating document text, with the defendants accused of infringement through the provision of smartphones, along with certain preinstalled apps that allow text entry, and their systemwide spell-check features that highlight misspelled words and present suggested corrections.
MDL Panel Denies Realtime Adaptive Streaming’s Transfer Motion as Parent Files New Data Compression Suits
August 10, 2018
Media Content and Distribution, Patent Litigation Feature
Prolific litigant Realtime Data LLC (RTD) saw its long-running litigation campaign splinter off into a variety of new districts in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s decision in TC Heartland, both through transfers (typically from Texas to California) and through new filings. The campaign’s defendant count now tops 110, with court disclosures revealing that the NPE has received funding from public litigation fund Juridica Investment Limited and Brickell Key Investments LP (which is handling Juridica’s run-off). Amidst that expansion, RTD subsidiary Realtime Adaptive Streaming LLC (RTAS)—which joined the campaign in September 2017, asserting a family of homegrown video compression patents—moved in April 2018 to consolidate various pending lawsuits in either Texas or Colorado, the latter of which has in particular seen many new filings by RTD and RTAS since TC Heartland. However, that effort hit a wall earlier this month, when the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) denied the motion. Meanwhile, RTD has filed eight new suits in Delaware throughout early August, asserting a well-worn set of data compression and storage acceleration patents against Hitachi, Nutanix, and SoftNAS, among others.
Public Records Point to a Fortress Takeover of Uniloc’s Monetization Efforts
August 9, 2018
Patent Market, Patent Watch
Last week, RPX reported that a subsidiary of Uniloc Corporation Pty. Limited had transferred more than 600 US assets to Fortress Investment Group LLC in May—the same month that Fortress announced a new, $400M IP fund focused on patent assertion. The transacted portfolio, which includes foreign counterparts in Asia and Europe, comprises former Pendrell Corporation assets (including patents originating with the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), Philips, and IBM); homegrown Uniloc patents (naming CEO Craig Etchegoyen as inventor); and patents acquired from Ayalogic, Fullpower Technologies, HP Enterprise, and Paragon Solutions. Subsets of those patents have appeared in a recent barrage of new litigation against Amazon, BlackBerry, Huawei, Microsoft, Samsung, and ZTE (with some defendants hit with four or more lawsuits each), filed by subsidiaries of Fortress and Uniloc. Fortress’s new ownership of the majority of Uniloc’s former US patent portfolio, together with its role as coplaintiff in Uniloc’s latest suits, indicates that Fortress—not Uniloc—is likely now in control.
Longtime Leadership at Acacia Steps Aside as Board Members Resign and New Texas NPE Asserts Saint Lawrence Sub’s Patents
August 8, 2018
Mobile Communications and Devices, Networking, New Patent Litigation
Recently formed Texas NPE EVS Codec Technologies, LLC has kept a portfolio of wideband audio patents in litigation, filing suit against Huawei (2:18-cv-00346), LG Electronics (LGE) (2:18-cv-00343), and ZTE (2:18-cv-00344) on nearly the same day that saw the last case in a prior campaign closed. The defendants are accused of infringement through the provision of mobile devices supporting the Enhanced Voice Services (EVS) codec via Ultra HD Voice compatibility. LGE and ZTE were both defendants in the prior campaign as to devices supporting a predecessor of Ultra HD Voice/EVS (the AMR-WB, or HD Voice, codec) waged by Saint Lawrence Communications LLC, a subsidiary of publicly traded NPE Acacia Research Corporation. Acacia recently announced a significant shakeup in both its executive team and board of directors.
Fourth Affiliated NPE Asserts Another Nero AG Patent, This Time Against Audio Workstation Software Providers
August 7, 2018
E-Commerce and Software, New Patent Litigation
Balor Audio LLC, a Texas NPE created this past January, has initiated a litigation campaign, suing Avid Technology (1:18-cv-11662) and Mark of the Unicorn (1:18-cv-11663). The new complaints assert a single patent, generally related to audio signal generation, with infringement allegations focused on the provision of audio workstation software: Avid Technology’s Pro Tools and Mark of the Unicorn’s Digital Performer. Balor Audio’s patent-in-suit is the fourth of four patents transferred late last year from German computer software company Nero AG to affiliated NPEs to be asserted in court.
Dominion Harbor Looks Ready to Assert Former WiLAN Patents
August 6, 2018
Patent Market, Patent Watch
USPTO records suggest that Dominion Harbor Enterprises, LLC could be gearing up to launch a campaign asserting patents acquired from Wi-LAN Inc. (WiLAN). The tell-tale patent transfer was executed between two Dominion affiliates in early August and includes patents developed by operating companies, including a subsidiary of AT&T.
More Suits Against Amazon and Microsoft Follow Transfer of Hundreds of Patents from Uniloc to Fortress
August 4, 2018
E-Commerce and Software, Media Content and Distribution, New Patent Litigation
Yet more cases have been filed by Uniloc Corporation Pty. Limited and Fortress Investment Group LLC, through controlled subsidiaries—six against Amazon (2:18-cv-00328, 2:18-cv-00329, 2:18-cv-00339, 2:18-cv-00340, 2:18-cv-00341, 2:18-cv-00342), and one against Microsoft (8:18-cv-01320). These filings follow a barrage of new cases filed the prior week against BlackBerry (four new cases), Huawei (one case), Samsung (one case), and ZTE (four cases), as well as against Amazon (four cases) and Microsoft (one case). Uniloc has now launched over 15 campaigns in 2018 alone, most of them asserting patents received this past January from publicly traded NPE Pendrell Corporation. In May 2018, Uniloc executed an assignment of nearly 600 US patents to Uniloc 2017 LLC, a Fortress subsidiary, according to a March 28, 2018 Asset Purchase Agreement, the terms of which have not been made public.
Bell Northern Research Targets Mobile Devices in New Campaign
August 4, 2018
Networking, New Patent Litigation
Bell Northern Research, LLC, a Hilco Inc. (d/b/a Hilco Global) company, has launched its first litigation campaign, asserting a subset of patents from a portfolio of thousands received from Broadcom. Last week, it sued Huawei (3:18-cv-01784), Kyocera (3:18-cv-01785), Yulong Computer Communications (Coolpad Technologies) (3:18-cv-01783), and ZTE (3:18-cv-01786), accusing each defendant of infringing up to six former Broadcom patents through the provision of smartphones with proximity sensors and that support 802.11n and/or 802.11ac Wi-Fi as well as multiple UMTS cellular data standards. Also at issue are the accused devices’ ability to maintain multiple types of network connections at once (e.g., holding a voice call while switching between cellular and Wi-Fi data).
PTAB Sees First New IPR Petition Against Native American Tribe As Sovereign Immunity Defense Gets Rejected
August 3, 2018
Biotech and Pharma, Consumer Electronics and PCs, E-Commerce and Software, Financial Services, Mobile Communications and Devices, Networking, Patent Litigation Feature, Semiconductors, campaignid:campaigns/68825
In July 2018, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) saw the first new petition for inter partes review (IPR) filed against a Native American tribe since the Board’s March ruling that IPRs against tribes are not barred by sovereign immunity, a decision that was upheld by the Federal Circuit on July 20. Institution decisions were also issued by the Board in July for IPRs against Uniloc Corporation Pty. Limited and Sound View Innovations, LLC, among other notable plaintiffs. In addition, the PTAB issued final decisions throughout July for IPRs against a variety of other NPEs, from Intellectual Ventures LLC (which has continued to pursue its existing campaigns but has seemingly stopped filing new US litigation) to smaller entities like Andrea Electronics Corporation and XPRT Ventures LLC as well as individual inventor Daniel L. Flamm.
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