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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.
Smartphone Camera Systems Targeted in Suits Brought by Named Inventors
October 19, 2018
Mobile Communications and Devices, New Patent Litigation
Individual inventors Yanbin Yu and Zhongxuan Zhang have launched a campaign over a single digital camera patent, suing Apple (3:18-cv-06181) and Samsung (3:18-cv-06339), both in the Northern District of California. The plaintiffs target the provision of smartphones with dual-camera systems: for Apple, the rear camera systems of the iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max, with the X, XS, and XS Max also accused of infringement through their front TrueDepth cameras; and for Samsung, the Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S9+, and Galaxy Note 9. In the new complaints, Yu and Zhang allege that the defendants learned of the patent-in-suit, at least in part, through the prosecution of their own applications concerning similar technologies before the USPTO.
Inventor-Controlled NPE Files Second Suit Against Apple, Targeting the Series 4 Watch with New Patent
October 18, 2018
Mobile Communications and Devices, New Patent Litigation
Omni MedSci, Inc. has filed a second suit against Apple (2:18-cv-00134), asserting three patents from the family already at issue in the April case. The patents generally relate to a “personal device”/wearable using “optical beams”/“near infrared lasers” for measurement, with the NPE targeting the Apple Watch, alleged to measure heart rate using semiconductor LEDs. In April, Omni MedSci asserted four patents from the family, calling out several Watch models, including Series 1, Series 2, Series 3 GPS, and Series 3 GPS + Cellular watches. In the new complaint, Omni MedSci targets those models—together with the Series 4, released in September 2018—with two of the patents already in suit and with the newest family member, just issuing to Omni MedSci on October 16.
New Equitable IP Campaign Targets Wireless Power Transfer
October 18, 2018
Consumer Electronics and PCs, Mobile Communications and Devices, New Patent Litigation
Magnacharge LLC, an affiliate of Equitable IP Corporation, has launched a litigation campaign more than two years after receiving the patent asserted from its named inventors. The NPE accuses Anker Innovations (1:18-cv-01601), Belkin (1:18-cv-01602), LG Electronics (LGE) (1:18-cv-01603), and Sony (1:18-cv-01604) of infringement through the provision of wireless mobile device chargers that utilize the Qi standard, developed by the Wireless Power Consortium to govern the use of induction to transfer power wirelessly over short distances. The patent-in-suit broadly concerns a “non-contact” charging device. Magnacharge’s filings mark only the second campaign of 2018 for Equitable IP and follows closure in three of the NPE’s earlier efforts, one in each of July, August, and October.
Akoloutheo Adds Citrix to First Campaign, Kicks Off Second One over Smart Metering Systems
October 13, 2018
E-Commerce and Software, Energy, Networking, New Patent Litigation
Texas-based Akoloutheo, LLC has filed its first case outside the Eastern District of that state, suing Citrix Systems (3:18-cv-02702) in the Northern District. The NPE accuses Citrix of infringing the same patent at issue throughout the campaign, begun this past February, through the provision of network management software products, including related networking devices and apps. Dismissals with prejudice have been entered, or are imminent, in four of the five previous cases in the campaign, all brought in the Eastern District of Texas. The three cases that Akoloutheo filed to launch its second campaign, in mid-September, were also brought in the Eastern District; there, the NPE accuses CenterPoint Energy (4:18-cv-00650), Texas Energy Future Holdings (Oncor Electric Delivery Company) (4:18-cv-00653), and Texas-New Mexico Power Company (4:18-cv-00652) of infringing a second patent, broadly concerning the remote monitoring and control of utility meters.
Federal Circuit Partially Reverses Alice Invalidation in Acacia Suit Against Google
October 12, 2018
E-Commerce and Software, Patent Litigation Feature
The Federal Circuit has overturned part of a Delaware court’s ruling in a case against Google that invalidated four Acacia Research Corporation spreadsheet patents under Alice. In an October 9 decision, the Federal Circuit held that all challenged claims from two of those patents (and all but one from a third) were not directed to patent-ineligible subject matter, ruling instead that they described technical solutions and improvements to problems found in prior art computer spreadsheet systems rather than claiming the abstract idea of “using notebook-type tabs to label and organize spreadsheets”. However, the decision upheld the lower court’s invalidation of a single claim from the third patent related to spreadsheet tabs and of all challenged claims from a fourth patent related to tracking changes in spreadsheet cells. The patents at issue are among eight that have been asserted by Acacia subsidiary Data Engine Technologies LLC in a litigation campaign launched in 2012.
Google Added to IPVal Search Results Campaign in Wake of Plaintiff’s Alice Win
October 10, 2018
Media Content and Distribution, New Patent Litigation
Hypermedia Navigation LLC, an affiliate of monetization firm IPValuation Partners LLC (d/b/a IPVal), has sued Alphabet (Google) (4:18-cv-06137) over the manner in which various Google websites, apps, and/or services (YouTube, Google Images, Google Play Music, Google Video, Google Play Movies, the Google mobile app, and Android TV) display and offer navigation between multiple media elements (including videos, audio files, and/or images). In its newest complaint, the NPE asserts 11 of a 16-member family, 13 of which have been at issue in this campaign. Facebook is the only other active defendant after dismissals with prejudice in earlier cases against Microsoft and Verizon (Yahoo).
Yates’s iPEL Begins Enforcement Efforts in China
October 9, 2018
Patent Market, Patent Watch
On October 9, iPEL, Inc., the patent licensing firm launched by patent attorney Brian Yates earlier this year, announced the filing of ten infringement suits against ASUS in China. According to a press release issued by iPEL, the lawsuits were filed in the specialized IP courts and tribunals of Beijing, Nanjing, and Xi’an. This appears to be the start of iPEL’s expected enforcement campaign in Asia, the approach of which RPX predicted back in June.
M2M Solutions Hits Amazon a Second Time in New Suit Targeting Kindle Ecosystem
October 9, 2018
Media Content and Distribution, New Patent Litigation
Inventor-controlled NPE M2M Solutions LLC has filed a second Delaware suit against Amazon (1:18-cv-01532) as its previous suit against the company remains stayed pending the outcome of inter partes reviews (IPRs) against the patents-in-suit. This latest complaint asserts two newer family members of those at issue in the other suit. As in that first case, the NPE again accuses Amazon of infringement through the provision of its Kindle e-reader “ecosystem”, including the company’s e-readers and the Whispernet content delivery network. The complaint alleges that Whispernet infringes through the use of machine-to-machine, or M2M, communications to push content to Kindle devices.
Q3 Sees Flurry of IP Edge Filings
October 7, 2018
Patent Market, Patent Watch
IP Edge LLC, which RPX data shows has cumulatively added more defendants to patent lawsuits than any other plaintiff since 2000, was relatively quiet during the first two quarters of 2018. Q3, however, saw an uptick in IP Edge activity, with various affiliates launching five new campaigns targeting a wide range of technologies.
Fortress-Uniloc Assertion of Former Pendrell Patents Continues Apace
October 7, 2018
Consumer Electronics and PCs, Media Content and Distribution, Mobile Communications and Devices, Networking, New Patent Litigation
The filing spree of Uniloc Corporation Pty. Limited continues unabated after handing over the reins of its monetization efforts to Fortress Investment Group LLC earlier this year. Last week alone, plaintiffs related to these entities jointly filed a new suit against Apple in the Western District of Texas, one against Cisco, two against Hike, and four against Alphabet (Google) (2:18-cv-00423), all in the Eastern District of Texas. Since its acquisition of a large portfolio from Pendrell Corporation subsidiary Pendragon Wireless LLC this past January, Uniloc has been filing new lawsuits on nearly a weekly basis over those patents, on its own, before its transfer of over 600 US patent assets to Fortress in May, and together with Fortress since. That shift in patent ownership came as Fortress announced a new, $400M IP fund focused on patent assertion.
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