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Amid Turmoil Following Fortress Takeover of Uniloc Portfolio, More Original Cases over Mobile Communications and Media Distribution Patents
December 9, 2018
Media Content and Distribution, Mobile Communications and Devices, Networking, New Patent Litigation
The May 2018 assignment of seemingly the entire patent portfolio of Uniloc Corporation Pty. Limited to Fortress Investment Group LLC triggered a legal throw-down over standing in the cases that Uniloc had filed over some of those patents before their transfer, as well as the dismissal and refiling of the cases that Fortress brought after their transfer. Undeterred, Fortress—through controlled plaintiff and apparent patent owner Uniloc 2017 LLC—also continues to file new suits, over the past two weeks adding HTC and Lenovo (Motorola Mobility) to several campaigns already underway against smartphone and tablet manufacturers Apple, BlackBerry, Huawei, LG Electronics, and/or Samsung, and asserting two media distribution patents already at issue in cases previously filed against Walt Disney (ABC) and Hulu.
Beck Branch Follows Last Dismissal in the First Wave of Networking Campaign with a New Wave of Complaints
December 7, 2018
Mobile Communications and Devices, Networking, New Patent Litigation
Beck Branch, LLC has filed a second wave in its sole litigation campaign, filing suit against CenturyLink Communications (1:18-cv-01915), RingCentral (1:18-cv-01917), Verizon (Oath) (1:18-cv-01916), and Yandex (1:18-cv-01918) in the District of Delaware and against Huawei (6:18-cv-00633) and Juniper Networks (6:18-cv-00634) in the Eastern District of Texas. The NPE targets a range of products with a single patent generally related to network protocol conversion. For example, in roughly analogous fashion to a prior complaint filed against Cisco, Juniper is alleged to infringe through the provision of products that enable IP-based voice communications over multiple communications protocols. Meanwhile, the Huawei complaint focuses on the provision of wearables (smartwatches and “smart fitness bands” using Google’s Wear OS) that communicate with Internet-connected smartphones over Bluetooth, for purposes including the transmission of calls and messages. An earlier complaint, filed against Samsung, contained similar infringement allegations.
November PTAB Activity Included IPRs Against Fortress as Standing Dispute over Uniloc Deal Escalates, with Apple Rejecting “Oxymoronic” Counterattack
December 7, 2018
Mobile Communications and Devices, Networking, Patent Litigation Feature, Semiconductors
In November 2018, Fortress Investment Group, LLC subsidiary Uniloc 2017 LLC was hit by a series of inter partes review (IPR) petitions filed by Apple as the two parties continue to brief a contentious dispute over standing in related district court litigation. November also saw the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) institute trial in IPRs involving Japanese patent monetization firm IP Bridge, Inc. and issue final decisions in IPRs against Quarterhill Inc. and Alacritech, Inc., the latter an operating company-turned-NPE formed by SCSI inventor Larry Boucher.
Campaign Targeting Mobile Receipt Upload Captures Another Defendant
December 6, 2018
E-Commerce and Software, New Patent Litigation
Roughly one month after filing cases against Groupon, Ibotta, and Quotient, Sapphire Crossing LLC, an affiliate of IP Edge LLC, has also added Intuit (1:18-cv-01856) to its file-and-dismiss campaign over a single image transfer patent. Infringement allegations in the NPE’s earlier complaints focused on mobile banking apps providing mobile check deposit features for financial institutions. In this latest round of suits, Sapphire Crossing focuses on mobile app features that allow the capture and upload of store receipt images, here within the QuickBooks Accounting mobile app.
Apparent IP Edge Affiliate Launches Video Messaging Campaign
December 3, 2018
E-Commerce and Software, Media Content and Distribution, New Patent Litigation
Rainey Circuit LLC, an apparent affiliate of monetization firm IP Edge LLC, has kicked off a new multi-district campaign, suing 8×8 (1:18-cv-01903), Vonage (1:18-cv-01904), and WhatsApp (1:18-cv-01905) in the District of Delaware; BlackBerry (3:18-cv-03156) in the Northern District of Texas; and Twitter (1:18-cv-07905) in the Northern District of Illinois. Each complaint asserts a single patent generally related to transmitting “multimedia” messages, with infringement allegations focused on video messaging features (i.e., messages containing both video and audio components) within the 8×8 Virtual Office app, BBM and the Messenger app on BlackBerry devices, the Vonage Mobile app, the WhatsApp messaging platform and mobile app, and Twitter’s social networking platform.
PoC Campaign Hits Six More Defendants, Across Multiple States
December 2, 2018
Mobile Communications and Devices, Networking, New Patent Litigation
Techno Licensing LLC added another round of cases to its sole litigation campaign, over a single patent generally related to push-to-talk (PTT) over cellular (PoC) service. The NPE, a litigating affiliate of monetization firm IP Edge LLC, has targeted devices that support PoC communications, including in its latest round of suits, against Bluebird (2:18-cv-00370), Kirisun (0:18-cv-62890), Pepperl + Fuchs (4:18-cv-04429), Sonim Technologies (1:18-cv-01870), Teamspeak Systems (3:18-cv-07287), and Unitech (4:18-cv-04430). Techno Licensing’s is the fourth IP Edge campaign to arise from a portfolio of nearly 30 patents originating with Panasonic and acquired from Allied Security Trust (AST) in early 2017.
“Multimedia” Campaign Continues, Affirmatively in Delaware and by Declaratory Judgment Action in California
December 1, 2018
Media Content and Distribution, Mobile Communications and Devices, New Patent Litigation
Mesa Digital LLC has filed suit against T-Mobile (1:18-cv-01887) in the District of Delaware over two patents generally related to “multimedia” mobile devices. The complaint calls out T-Mobile’s Coolpad Defiant smartphone; original complaints filed in July against Huawei and ZTE, over the same two patents, make similar identifications (Huawei’s P10 and ZTE’s Axon Elite), but the NPE has since amended the ZTE complaint to swap in AT&T Primetime as the product actually accused of infringement in that case. The patents belong to a family of more than 30, other members of which are held, and have been concurrently asserted by, Mesa Digital affiliate Ortiz & Associates Consulting, LLC. In September, Alphabet (Google) (3:18-cv-05983) filed a Northern District of California complaint seeking declaratory judgments of noninfringement of two of those patents, after Ortiz & Associates voluntarily dismissed an earlier affirmative case in the Northern District of Illinois.
With Another $100M of Funding in Hand, iPEL Foreshadows Additional, Imminent Litigation in China
December 1, 2018
Patent Market, Patent Watch
iPEL, Inc., the patent licensing firm launched earlier this year by patent attorney Brian Yates, announced on November 28 that it has doubled its capital, bringing the total raised to $200M. In the same press release, the firm warned that “several dozens” of new lawsuits will be filed in China within the week against at least four companies, some with “prominent ‘household’ names”. iPEL reports having filed ten patent infringement suits to date in China, all against ASUS; the lawsuits were filed in October in the specialized IP courts and tribunals of Beijing, Nanjing, and Xi’an.
Unorthodox “Shootout” Procedure in Finjan Suit Tees Up First Post-Alice Trial on Patent Eligibility
November 30, 2018
Networking, Patent Litigation Feature
Patent subject matter eligibility has traditionally been regarded primarily as a matter of law, with facts playing a supporting role for courts asked to analyze patents under Alice and its progeny. However, through its Berkheimer and Aatrix decisions this past February, the Federal Circuit elevated that role for facts. The court ruled that a defendant cannot win early dismissal under Section 101 where a patent-holder raises sufficient issues of fact as to whether the challenged claims contain an inventive concept. This shift raised the possibility that patent eligibility might become an issue not typically decided until trial—yet a jury has not weighed in on Section 101 since the issuance of Alice, and did so only once before that. This month could see that change: in an imminent trial between Finjan, Inc. and Juniper Networks, a jury will be asked to determine if one of the NPE’s antimalware patents is invalid under Section 101. Proposed jury instructions filed on November 28 show that the parties sharply diverge as to how the jury should be instructed on that issue.
IP Edge Affiliate Targets Acer, HTC, Mattel Devices Allegedly Containing MediaTek or Qualcomm SoCs
November 29, 2018
Consumer Electronics and PCs, Mobile Communications and Devices, New Patent Litigation, Semiconductors
Altair Logix LLC recently filed suit against Acer (3:18-cv-07154), HTC (2:18-cv-01685), and Mattel (1:18-cv-01861), targeting devices with either a Qualcomm or MediaTek system-on-chip (SoC) that allegedly include multiple “media processing units” identified as the ARM quad-core Cortex-A53. The new defendants join ASUStek and TI as active in the campaign after dismissals have been entered in earlier suits filed against Microsoft, Samsung, and ZTE. Altair Logix is an affiliate of IP Edge LLC, a Texas monetization firm that has landed at the top of recent years’ lists of most frequent plaintiffs.
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