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“Non-Contact” Charging Campaign Hits Wireless Carriers
August 24, 2019
Consumer Electronics and PCs, Mobile Communications and Devices, New Patent Litigation
Another NPE associated with Equitable IP Corporation has been brought out of a tax forfeiture just before filing new lawsuits. In mid-August, Post Media Systems LLC rebooted its litigation campaign with cases against Alphabet (Google), Apple, and Pandora; now Magnacharge LLC has filed suit against T-Mobile (1:19-cv-01565) and US Cellular (1:19-cv-01566) a week or so after John T. Meli, Jr., Equitable IP’s founder, brought the entity’s Texas registration current. The sole patent-in-suit generally relates to a “non-contact” charging device, with infringement allegations targeting wireless mobile device chargers that utilize the Qi standard. Magnacharge accuses the wireless carriers of infringement through the provision of “non-contact type battery pack chargers” and mobile devices “configured to be chargeable by non-contact charging means according to the Qi Standard”, calling out various smartphones provide by Alphabet (Google), Apple, or LG Electronics (LGE).
Already Forced to Litigate in the Northern District of California, Packet Intelligence Sues Juniper There
August 24, 2019
Networking, New Patent Litigation
In May 2019, Palo Alto Networks filed a suit in the Northern District of California seeking declaratory judgments that it does not infringe five network traffic monitoring and packet processing patents held by Packet Intelligence LLC. July saw Packet Intelligence answer that complaint and file affirmative counterclaims, and now the NPE has sued Juniper Networks (3:19-cv-04741) in the same forum, alleging infringement of the same five patents, which were each also targeted with a July 2019 petition for inter partes review (IPR) by campaign defendant Nokia. Meanwhile, NetScout Systems has filed its opening brief in support of its Federal Circuit appeal from a jury verdict and final judgment in the Eastern District of Texas.
2019 Sees Second Campaign with Apparent Backing by the Same Investment Firm
August 23, 2019
Networking, New Patent Litigation
Inventor-controlled AlterWAN, Inc. has filed a District of Delaware suit against Amazon (1:19-cv-01544), accusing the tech giant of infringing six patents generally related to routing Internet traffic across autonomous systems. The complaint emphasizes the background of the inventor named on the patents-in-suit, Richard Haney, who purportedly began working in 1999 “to address limitations in private networking technology”, including the fact that “[p]rivate networks that used the Internet as a backbone were inexpensive but inefficient and unreliable, exhibiting problems of lack of reserved bandwidth and latency as well as poor data security”. Amazon is accused of infringement through the provision of its Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) platform.
Honeyman Cipher Files New Litigation over Former Liddle Patent, Repeating Infringement Arguments Challenged by Groupon
August 23, 2019
Mobile Communications and Devices, New Patent Litigation
Delaware plaintiff Honeyman Cipher Solutions LLC has expanded the litigation campaign that it launched in June with a single suit against Groupon, targeting that company’s use of Apple’s iTunes Connect and Google’s Android Developer Console to register and distribute its respective iOS and Android apps. Now, as Groupon challenges the sufficiency of Honeyman Cipher’s infringement allegations in that Northern District of Illinois case, the NPE has filed a pair of new complaints in Delaware against LogMeIn (1:19-cv-01545) and Snap (1:19-cv-01547) over their use of the same systems—laying out virtually the same arguments now under fire by Groupon. A related set of arguments were also raised by Groupon in an unresolved motion to dismiss a Texas case brought by the patent-in-campaign’s prior owner, Bradley D. Liddle’s Plano Encryption Technologies, LLC (PET), before that case was dismissed for improper venue (thereby mooting the defendant’s allegations of noninfringement).
Federal Circuit Rules That Claim Construction Disputes May Preclude Alice Dismissal under Aatrix
August 23, 2019
E-Commerce and Software, Patent Litigation Feature
The Federal Circuit’s February 2018 decisions in Berkheimer and Aatrix have had a sweeping impact on district court patent eligibility challenges by establishing that factual disputes over inventiveness may preclude dismissal under Alice. A recent RPX analysis indicates that the result has been a roughly 23% drop in nationwide Section 101 invalidations by patent since those opinions issued. Now, a new Federal Circuit opinion may provide an additional obstacle for defendants filing Alice motions: On August 16, the appeals court clarified that Aatrix also requires district courts to address claim construction disputes before issuing a ruling on a patent’s eligibility.
Fujitsu Entity Files DJ Action Against Data Scape as Various Courts Grant Stays to Facilitate Settlements Elsewhere
August 18, 2019
E-Commerce and Software, New Patent Litigation
Fujitsu (PFU Limited) (5:19-cv-04810) has filed a complaint in the Northern District of California, seeking declaratory judgments that certain of its ScanSnap scanners, and related software, do not infringe six patents held by Data Scape Limited. Data Scape, an Irish NPE, launched litigation over a portfolio acquired from Sony late last year, eventually hitting more than a dozen defendants in multiple district courts and before the International Trade Commission (ITC). Among those cases was a suit in the Eastern District of Texas, filed by Data Scape against other Fujitsu subsidiaries—the wrong Fujitsu subsidiaries, according to this new complaint, which attempts to join the dispute between the correct parties, doing so in California, rather than Texas. The filing comes as joint motions to dismiss to facilitate settlements have been filed across most of Data Scape’s ongoing cases, which were filed after the Central District of California issued an Alice order that dealt a serious blow to most of its original lawsuits.
Ten More Patents from a Growing Camera and Lens Portfolio Debut in Litigation
August 17, 2019
Mobile Communications and Devices, New Patent Litigation
Corephotonics Ltd. has upped the ante in its litigation Apple. Last December, District Judge Lucy H. Koh stayed two earlier cases, consolidated before her in the Northern District of California, to await resolution of various inter partes review (IPR) proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). This past week, Corephotonics filed a third case against Apple (3:19-cv-04809) in the same district, asserting ten additional patents, variously related to either a telephoto lens and/or camera assembly, or a dual-lens camera system incorporating separate lenses and sensors for wide-angle and telephoto image capture. The new complaint again targets Apple’s provision of certain iPhones, including the iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone Xs, and iPhone Xs Max.
Equitable IP Plaintiff Revives Online Music Service Campaign
August 17, 2019
Media Content and Distribution, New Patent Litigation
On August 13, 2019, John T. Meli, Jr., the founder of Equitable IP Corporation, brought one of the many Texas entities associated with the monetization firm out of tax forfeiture in the state. A few days later that entity, Post Media Systems LLC, has resuscitated a litigation campaign that went dormant roughly two years ago, suing Alphabet (Google) (1:19-cv-05539), Apple (1:19-cv-05538), and Pandora (1:19-cv-05540) over a family of patents generally related to managing media files for playback over a computer network. Defendants throughout the campaign have been accused of infringement through the provision of music and radio online services and related apps, in these new complaints, Google Play, Apple Music, and Pandora Radio, respectively.
Graphics Processor Patent Asserted for the First Time in Litigation, Against Qualcomm
August 16, 2019
New Patent Litigation, Semiconductors
GPU++, LLC, an entity formed in California in March 2018, has filed suit against Qualcomm (6:19-cv-00474) over a graphics processor patent that it acquired that same month. The NPE targets Qualcomm over the provision of systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) with Adreno 3x, 4x, and 5x GPUs or “having any GPU with FlexRender technology or similar functionality”. GPU++ pleads that Qualcomm’s knowledge of the asserted patent dates back to at least January 2011, around which time the named inventor, Edward A. Hutchins, purportedly attended a meeting with Qualcomm to present “his inventive concept of a new reconfigurable 3D GPU capable of operating in either or both of a direct rasterizing mode (i.e., direct-rendering mode) or a tiling mode (i.e., binning mode)”.
Gilstrap Requires Early Disclosure of Alice Arguments in New Section 101 Standing Order
August 16, 2019
Patent Litigation Feature
A recent RPX analysis showed that Section 101 invalidation rates have dropped significantly since the Federal Circuit issued its February 2018 decisions in Berkheimer and Aatrix, holding that the resolution of Alice motions may be premature where a party raises questions of fact as to a patent’s inventiveness. Now, District Judge Rodney Gilstrap has further raised the bar for defendants hoping to bring eligibility challenges in the Eastern District of Texas. In a recently issued standing order, Judge Gilstrap has required that any party intending to move for dismissal under Section 101 serve “Eligibility Contentions” containing a detailed disclosure of the “legal and factual basis” for that motion. This information must be filed within 45 days of receiving service of the plaintiff’s “Disclosure of Asserted Claims and Infringement Contentions”. The required factual disclosures, to comprise prior art establishing that a patent’s claims were “well understood, routine, [and] conventional”, reflect the manner in which Berkheimer and Aatrix have elevated the role of facts in the Section 101 analysis, which courts have historically treated as primarily a question of law—a shift that has divided even the Federal Circuit itself in debates over the impact of those two opinions.
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