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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.
Acacia Partners with Hedge Fund Starboard Value, Makes a $2.1M Investment in Drive Shack
December 1, 2019
Patent Market, Patent Watch
Acacia Research Corporation’s transformation continued through November, with the company announcing on November 18 that it will receive up to $400M from hedge fund Starboard Value “for strategic investments and acquisitions”. That announcement came the same week that Acacia purchased 500,000 shares in Drive Shack, which operates several dozen golf properties and four virtual reality golf driving ranges—and which has a long-standing relationship with Fortress Investment Group LLC.
Private Equity Backed Semiconductor Campaign Keeps Growing
November 30, 2019
New Patent Litigation, Semiconductors
Monterey Research, LLC, a subsidiary of IP advisory firm IPValue Management (d/b/a IPValue), has added a third lawsuit to its new litigation campaign over former Cypress Semiconductor patents. Earlier in November, the plaintiff sued first Qualcomm and then Nanya Technology, adding a case against AMD (1:19-cv-02149) this past week, with all of the complaints filed in the District of Delaware. AMD is accused of infringing six patents through the provision of “all AMD devices incorporating SRAM with a 6T and/or 8T cell design”, including the A8-3800, A-Series, Pro A-Series, Ryzen, Ryzen Pro, Athlon, Epyc, FX, E-Series, Opteron, Phenom, Sempron, and the Turion processors. IPValue has been owned by private equity firm Vector Capital since 2014.
Hilco’s Bell Semiconductor Asserts Former Broadcom Patents in Two New Semiconductor Campaigns
November 30, 2019
New Patent Litigation, Semiconductors
More former Broadcom patents have popped up in litigation, with Bell Semiconductor, LLC suing Integrated Device Technology (IDT) (1:19-cv-02155) in the District of Delaware over three of them (generally related to “parasitic capacitance” avoidance and high-speed transmitter contacts) and Renesas Electronics (6:19-cv-02196) in the Middle District of Florida over seven others (broadly concerning various aspects of semiconductor fabrication, including corrosion prevention and bond pad reinforcement). The plaintiff targets the defendants’ provision of various semiconductor devices (e.g., controllers, GPUs, MCUs, processors, SRAMs, etc.). Given its membership in the Hilco, Inc. (d/b/a Hilco Global) family of companies, and with thousands of other patents held, these suits seem unlikely to be Bell Semiconductor’s last.
New Entrant Cedar Lane Kicks Off Fourth Campaign of 2019
November 29, 2019
Media Content and Distribution, New Patent Litigation
One of those less familiar “faces” litigating patents in 2019 belongs to Canadian firm Cedar Lane Technologies Inc., which this past week kicked off its fourth campaign of the year. The plaintiff asserts a single patent, generally directed to spreading information from a central source to a “plurality of remote user interfaces”, in separate suits against Dialpad (1:19-cv-01156), Genesis Digital (3:19-cv-02282), and Zoom Video Communications (1:19-cv-03340). Cedar Lane targets the ability within the defendants’ cloud-based conferencing systems (UberConference, WebinarJam, and Zoom Meeting, respectively) to launch the user’s applications at the scheduled start time of a meeting.
Tranche of Siemens Patents, Assigned to IP Edge, Spawns Campaign Nos. 9 and 10
November 28, 2019
E-Commerce and Software, New Patent Litigation
Over the past couple of months, IP Edge LLC has steadily begun asserting patents received from Linex Technologies, Inc. in multiple new campaigns (see here), but the Texas monetization firm has continued to file other litigation as well, this past week asserting yet more patents from a portfolio received from Siemens. This past month, plaintiffs CyndaTek LLC and Pivital IP LLC, both apparently associated with the prolific Texas monetization firm, have begun litigating certain of those patents.
Intel Drops Its Initial Antitrust Suit Against Fortress in Favor of a Broader Action, This One Filed with Apple
November 27, 2019
Top Insight
Following the withdrawal of its October suit against Fortress Investment Group LLC, Intel has filed a second antitrust case against Fortress, this time joining Apple as a coplaintiff and targeting a wider set of defendants—including, among others, Inventergy Global, Inc.; IXI IP, LLC; and two subsidiaries of Uniloc Corporation Pty. Limited. Building on Intel’s original complaint (in-depth coverage of which is available here), the new suit alleges that Fortress reached agreements with various parties that have resulted in inflated royalties, increased prices, and reduced innovation and quality for electronic devices.
2019 Marketplace Trends: Investors in Recent NPE Litigation Include Less Familiar Faces
November 27, 2019
Patent Market, Patent Watch
Various data and news sources are reporting that the US litigation finance sector will finish this year awash in capital. Meanwhile, there is mounting evidence that a growing number of NPEs are looking to third-party litigation funders to back new and existing campaigns. These investors include familiar players in the litigation funding and IP industries, as well as lesser known firms, a few of which are featured in this article.
Federal Circuit Vacates $600M VirnetX Judgment Against Apple, Reverses FaceTime Infringement Verdict
November 27, 2019
Mobile Communications and Devices, Patent Litigation Feature
The Federal Circuit has partly overturned an April 2018 infringement verdict for VirnetX Inc. in a suit against Apple, vacating a $600M judgment for the NPE (2019-1050). In a November 22 opinion, the appeals court declined to revisit a lower court ruling on issue preclusion with respect to invalidity but countermanded the jury’s finding that Apple’s FaceTime feature infringed two of the asserted patents. That reversal stemmed from the district court’s failure to properly construe a key claim term, with the Federal Circuit concluding that no reasonable jury could have found infringement through FaceTime under the correct construction.
American Patents Closes Out November with a Burst of New Complaints
November 27, 2019
Mobile Communications and Devices, Networking, New Patent Litigation
American Patents LLC has ended November as it began the month: by filing lawsuits. Last week, the plaintiff added cases against Fortinet (4:19-cv-00878), Juniper Networks (4:19-cv-00879), Shenzhen Tenda Technology (4:19-cv-00880), Sophos (4:19-cv-00881), and Yulong Computer Communications (Coolpad Group, Coolpad Technologies, Yulong Computer Telecommunications Scientific Company) (4:19-cv-00877) to its first, and largest, litigation campaign. The same three patents—generally related to interactions between “smart” devices and communications networks—are asserted in the new complaints, with Yulong accused of infringement through the provision of smartphones that support LTE; the other defendants, through their provision of wireless access points supporting 802.11ac and/or LTE.
With 2019 Drawing to a Close, IBM Completes a Large Portfolio Divestiture
November 27, 2019
In Case You Missed It
According to USPTO records, IBM divested over 500 US patent assets, as well as a number of foreign counterparts in Asia, Europe, and elsewhere, to a single Delaware entity in late September 2019; at least one follow-up assignment, executed in November, has also been made public by the USPTO. The assignee appears to be controlled by a familiar name in patent monetization.
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