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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.
Individual Inventor Asserts a Familiar Patent Against Familiar Products, This Time Against Wireless Carriers
June 21, 2019
Mobile Communications and Devices, New Patent Litigation
Named inventor Joe Andrew Salazar has filed suit again in the Eastern District of Texas over the same patent that a jury there found, in a May 2018 verdict, not infringed by HTC through the provision of the HTC One M7, One M8, and One M9 smartphones. The new complaint names AT&T (AT&T Mobility), SoftBank (Sprint), T-Mobile, and Verizon (Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless) (5:19-cv-00075), accusing the wireless carriers of infringement through the provision of “smartphone products including but not limited to HTC One M7, HTC One M8, and HTC One M9 that embody wireless communications, control and sensing systems for communicating with external devices, including televisions and other devices”. Salazar alleges in that complaint infringement “at least claim 1” of the sole asserted patent; final judgment of noninfringement, based on the earlier jury verdict, was entered as to claims 1-7, 27-30, and 34.
Battle-Tested Patent Asserted in New Western District of Texas Suits, as Remanded Litigation Fires Back Up in the Western District of Washington
June 21, 2019
E-Commerce and Software, New Patent Litigation
Ancora Technologies Inc. has revived litigation of a single patent—generally related to preventing the unauthorized use of software on a computer—that has twice been the subject of an appeal before the Federal Circuit. Ancora began litigating that patent in 2008 in a case filed against Dell, HP, and Toshiba, in which Microsoft intervened. Subsequent cases filed against Apple and HTC resulted in Federal Circuit appeals, both ending in Ancora’s favor, the second of which reversed, in a November 2018 opinion, a district court Alice invalidation. Ancora now accuses LG Electronics (6:19-cv-00384) and Samsung (6:19-cv-00385), in the Western District of Texas, of infringement through the provision of a long list of mobile devices (e.g., smartphones and tablets), with the complaint calling out “over-the-air software update” features on such devices.
New NPE Tags Second Wireless Carrier over Provision of Its 3G Network
June 21, 2019
Mobile Communications and Devices, Networking, New Patent Litigation
A week after hitting AT&T (AT&T MobilityCricket Wireless) over the same five patents, recently formed Delaware entity Cellular Evolution LLC has followed up with a similar case filed against T-Mobile (2:19-cv-00232), also in the Eastern District of Texas. The wireless communications patents form a single family originating with failed Korean mobile phone maker Pantech, Cellular Evolution alleging that each has been declared essential to the UMTS RRC Protocol (as identified in the ETSI Special Report SR 000 314). The NPE’s complaints target the two wireless providers’ respective 3G networks, with the T-Mobile complaint calling out its alleged sale of “products for use on its network”, including certain mobile devices made by Alphabet (Google), Apple, Lenovo (Motorola Mobility), LG Electronics, or YuLong Computer Telecommunication (Coolpad).
Be Labs Files a 2019 Wave of Suits Targeting Additional Wireless Access Points
June 21, 2019
Networking, New Patent Litigation
Inventor-backed NPE Be Labs, Inc. has added two more defendants to its campaign over a pair of patents generally related to systems for wirelessly distributing media content throughout a “premises”. Cases against Rokland (1:19-cv-00111), sued in the Northern District of Florida, and Ubiquiti Networks (1:19-cv-05328) in the Southern District of New York, join active suits filed against Hitron Technologies (1:19-cv-01195) in the District of Colorado and Actiontec Electronics (2:19-cv-02636), ASRock (2:19-cv-02637), Edimax Computer (2:19-cv-02638), and Tenda Technology (2:19-cv-02639) in the Central District of California. Throughout its campaign, Be Labs has targeted routers and gateways compliant with the IEEE 802.11ac and 802.11n Wi-Fi standards.
NPE Dodges Alice Adjudication in One Case, Files Another, in Server Performance Campaign
June 21, 2019
Networking, New Patent Litigation
Accelerated Memory Tech, LLC has expanded its litigation campaign over a single patent generally related to improving server performance, suing Hulu (1:19-cv-01158) in the District of Delaware. Coming just a few weeks after the NPE notified the Northern District of Georgia of a settlement in principle in case brought there against Barracuda Networks, the new case joins an open action against Kemp Technologies, also in Delaware. Accelerated Memory, an affiliate of Atlanta-based monetization firm IP Investments Group, LLC (d/b/a IPinvestments Group), targets Hulu’s Redis, described as a data delivery system with “features such as caching, compression, and TCP pooling which enable faster application delivery and ensure scalability”.
Continued Fortress-Uniloc Litigation Prompts Pushback Before the PTAB as Apple Wins Cancellation of Claims from Three Patents
June 21, 2019
Mobile Communications and Devices, Top Insight
The past few years have seen a steady stream of litigation over patents held by Australian NPE Uniloc Corporation Pty. Limited, a flow that has intensified since IP investment firm Fortress Investment Group LLC took over Uniloc’s assertion efforts in May 2018. Since that acquisition, Fortress has aggressively litigated patents from that portfolio through its subsidiary Uniloc 2017 LLC, hitting a variety of defendants with an ongoing barrage of new complaints. As Uniloc 2017 continues to file litigation, defendants from those new campaigns as well as existing Uniloc campaigns asserting patents now held by Fortress have fought back by pursuing validity challenges before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). The Board’s latest decisions were not in the NPE’s favor: On June 17, the PTAB invalidated claims from three patents in inter partes reviews (IPRs) filed by frequent Uniloc defendant Apple, which last year accused the NPE of “serially filing meritless patent infringement cases against it”. Those PTAB final decisions come as an earlier Uniloc campaign springs back to life, following a Federal Circuit decision that reversed the Alice invalidation of two of the NPE’s patents.
Endpoint IP Affiliate Opens Up Semiconductor Campaign from Patents Received from IV
June 20, 2019
New Patent Litigation, Semiconductors
Roughly one month after launching its first litigation campaign, Endpoint IP LLC affiliate Aido LLC has initiated a second, this time suing ON Semiconductor (1:19-cv-01110) and STMicroelectronics (1:19-cv-01111) over a patent generally related to pulse width modulated (PWM) amplifiers. The new complaints target provision of certain switch amplifiers, including the NCP2820 Series 2.65 W Filterless Class-D Audio Power Amplifier and TDA7491HV, respectively. Like the video processing patents that Aido asserted against Panasonic last month, the patent asserted here was received as part of a set of December 2018 assignments from Intellectual Ventures LLC (IV) that saw nearly 20 assets transferred to Aido.
2019 Mid-Year Review: IV Assets Continue to Flow to NPEs, to OpCos, and into the Courts
June 18, 2019
Patent Market, Patent Watch
The first half of 2019 saw Intellectual Ventures LLC (IV) continue to rapidly peel off patents, including to NPEs, with IV—according to publicly available documents—sometimes retaining an economic interest in the assertion of its divestitures. Meanwhile, new litigation involving former IV assets continues to crop up, with over ten new NPE campaigns filed in the past six months involving IV divestitures. RPX has published a comprehensive report identifying the top NPE assignees of IV divestitures since January 1, 2016, with brief summaries of NPE litigation campaigns resulting from notable transactions. The most recent version of that report can be downloaded from RPX Insight here.
Dozens of Former IV Patents in Hand, New Entrant to Monetization Kicks Off First Campaign over “Smart Locks”
June 16, 2019
Consumer Electronics and PCs, New Patent Litigation
In a new litigation campaign, Smart Locking Technologies LLC has sued Allegion (Schlage Lock Company) (1:19-cv-00994), Assa Abloy (August Home) (1:19-cv-00991), igloohome (1:19-cv-00992), and LockState (1:19-cv-00993) over two patents generally related to security devices. The recently formed NPE targets the defendants’ respective provision of the Schlage Encode Wi-Fi Deadbolt, August Smart Lock Pro, igloohome Smart Deadbolt, and OpenEdge Smart Lock—all smart locks that feature use of temporary access codes. The path that the asserted patents took into Smart Locking’s hands suggest that additional, affiliated campaigns may be coming.
Polaris PowerLED Hits Samsung Again as Judge Gilstrap Clears the Way for Trial Between the Two
June 15, 2019
New Patent Litigation, Semiconductors
On the eve of its trial in the Eastern District of Texas in a case filed against Samsung in October 2017, Polaris PowerLED Technologies, LLC has filed a second suit against the company (2:19-cv-00229) in the same district. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap held a final conference on June 11, 2019 in preparation for trial over a single patent generally directed to setting the brightness level of an electronic display based on the ambient light level, targeting certain Galaxy smartphones and tablets as well as other products. The new complaint asserts a different patent, generally related to controlling a “backlight system”, accusing Samsung of infringement through the provision of certain televisions, particularly calling out “a local dimming feature that dims the backlight behind parts of the screen that are displaying black”. That patent is already at issue in the campaign, having been asserted in a September 2018 suit against VIZIO in the Central District of California.
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