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Self-Proclaimed “Inventor of the Connected Home” Kicks Off Smart Home Campaign Through Portus
February 7, 2019
Networking, New Patent Litigation
Inventor-controlled Portus Singapore Pte Ltd. and its Australian subsidiary Portus Pty Limited have initiated their first litigation campaign as patent owner and exclusive licensee, respectively, suing AT&T (AT&T Digital Life) (2:19-cv-00044) in the Eastern District of Texas, AXP Group (Vivint) (3:19-cv-00310) in the Northern District of Texas, and Zmodo Technology (2:19-cv-02029) in the Northern District of Illinois. A family of two patents generally related to monitoring and/or controlling devices at a remote location is asserted against each defendant, with infringement allegations focused on the provision of smart home automation and security products—i.e., the AT&T Digital product suite, the Vivint Smart Hub, and Zmodo’s Pivot and Pivot Cloud, both Internet-connected home security cameras offering remote access features and that serve as control hubs for other smart devices (e.g., lights).
UK Appeal Ruling Confirms that English Courts May Hear SEP Disputes
February 3, 2019
Mobile Communications and Devices, Patent Litigation Feature
The UK Court of Appeal has reaffirmed that English courts may hear disputes over standard essential patent (SEP) licensing. In a January 30 opinion, the court held that the UK was the most convenient forum for an ongoing lawsuit filed by Conversant Wireless Licensing S.à.r.l. against Huawei and ZTE over their refusal to take a global license to the NPE’s portfolio based on allegedly fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms. The court’s ruling came despite new evidence offered by the defendants suggesting that China would also be an appropriate forum for the dispute.
Not All IV Divestitures Flowed to NPEs Last Year
February 3, 2019
Patent Market, Patent Watch
The USPTO continues to release more information about 2018 divestitures by Intellectual Ventures LLC (IV), with recently posted records showing a number of assignments to operating companies, including Facebook, Seagate, and TiVo.
Standing to Sue Flies Right Through Tangled Web of Uniloc-Fortress Agreements
February 3, 2019
Top Insight
District Judge William Alsup in the Northern District of California has ruled on a motion questioning whether Uniloc Luxembourg S.a.r.l. (f/k/a Uniloc Luxembourg S.A.) and Uniloc USA, Inc., subsidiaries of Uniloc Corporation Pty. Limited, had standing to sue at the time that they filed a raft of lawsuits against Apple in their original forum, the Eastern District of Texas. Judge Alsup ruled that the Uniloc plaintiffs did have standing, rejecting Apple’s argument that a purported “default” under a set of December 2014 agreements between Uniloc and Fortress Investment Group LLC, as subsequently and repeatedly amended, had shifted sufficient rights to Fortress to destroy Uniloc’s standing. Apple had also opposed a motion to add Uniloc 2017 LLC as a plaintiff, arguing that joining new patent owner Uniloc 2017 could not fix a lapse in standing caused by a May 2018 transfer of the Uniloc patent portfolio from Uniloc Luxembourg to Uniloc 2017. Judge Alsup ruled in the plaintiffs’ favor, granting their motion to join Uniloc 2017.
New Year? Multiple New Suits Filed over Former Uniloc Portfolio.
February 3, 2019
Media Content and Distribution, Mobile Communications and Devices, Networking, New Patent Litigation
For Uniloc 2017 LLC—the Fortress Investment Group LLC entity that took ownership of Uniloc Corporation Pty. Limited’s patent portfolio last May—2019 has begun much as 2018 ended, with the NPE asserting those patents against various defendants across multiple litigation campaigns. January’s defendants include Bitmovin (1:19-cv-00179), Brightcove (1:19-cv-00180), Dailymotion (1:19-cv-00181), Sling TV (1:19-cv-00278), Telestream (1:19-cv-00182), and Wal-Mart (Vudu) (1:19-cv-00183), all sued as part of what might be called the “video streaming segment” of a campaign that has sprawled over more than two dozen defendants, with more than 15 patents asserted, since just last February. Uniloc 2017 has also filed two new suits against Microsoft (8:19-cv-00158, 8:19-cv-00196), one asserting a homegrown Uniloc patent (generally related to testing whether a remote device is secure) for the first time while the other concerns a patent (generally related to marking speaker changes in a videoconference application) already in suit against Alphabet (Google).
IPinvestments Group Affiliate Expands DVR Campaign, Hitting Altice in New York and Hulu in Texas
February 1, 2019
Consumer Electronics and PCs, Media Content and Distribution, New Patent Litigation
Altice (2:19-cv-00643) and Hulu (1:19-cv-00075) have been added to the DVR campaign of SynchView Technologies, LLC with new cases filed in the Eastern District of New York and in the Western District of Texas, respectively. The plaintiff targets certain Altice DVRs (e.g., Scientific Atlanta/Cisco 8300 DVR, TiVo Premiere DVRs, and “DVRs providing the functionality described in the ‘Inside iGuide User’s Reference Manual’ issued by Altice USA’s Suddenlink television service”) and Hulu with Live TV and Cloud DVR. These latest cases join prior suits in Delaware, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
IPVal’s PC Coma Files Second Campaign, This One Targeting Laptop Temperature Regulation
January 31, 2019
Consumer Electronics and PCs, New Patent Litigation
PC Coma LLC, an affiliate of monetization firm IP Valuation Partners LLC (d/b/a IPVal), has kicked off a second litigation campaign, filing separate suits against Fujitsu (2:19-cv-00033) and Panasonic (2:19-cv-00034) in the Eastern District of Texas. A single patent, generally related to temperature control in a portable computer, is asserted, with the defendants accused of infringement through the provision of laptops (e.g., the Fujitsu Lifebook P727 and Panasonic Toughbook CF-C1, respectively) incorporating certain temperature management systems. In early January, the remaining open case in PC Coma’s first litigation campaign, filed over a power management patent and targeting multifunction printers, was dismissed with prejudice.
Acacia Sub Sues Amazon, Alleging That a Wide Range of Devices Using the AMR-WB Audio Codec Are Not Covered by a Prior Settlement and License
January 28, 2019
Consumer Electronics and PCs, New Patent Litigation
Saint Lawrence Communications LLC has filed suit against Amazon (2:19-cv-00027), asserting a familiar set of five data compression patents in a new complaint that targets a long list of devices supporting the Adaptive Multi-Rate-Wideband (AMR-WB) audio codec for speech. The accused products include the Fire Phone, various Fire TV products, various Kindle Android tablets, and various Echo and Alexa products (including those running Amazon’s Android-based Fire OS). Saint Lawrence, a subsidiary of Acacia Research Corporation, pleads ownership of the patents asserted; last August, EVS Codec Technologies, LLC—claiming the exclusive right to grant licenses covering products practicing the Enhanced Voice Standard (EVS) for voice services over LTE/4G networks—asserted the same five patents in suits filed against Huawei, LG Electronics (LGE), and ZTE. The Saint Lawrence Communications complaint acknowledges a “prior settlement and license agreement” with Amazon but further alleges that “Amazon is not currently licensed to the patents asserted in this Complaint with respect to the activities accused of infringement”.
LED Campaign Asserting Former Honeywell Patents Expands in Early 2019
January 27, 2019
Consumer Electronics and PCs, New Patent Litigation, Semiconductors
Technical LED Intellectual Property, LLC (Technical LED IP), an apparent affiliate of inventor Fred DuFresne and/or his monetization firms Cerinet USA Inc. and ipCapital Licensing Company I, LLC (d/b/a Cerinet IP Licensing), has added seven cases so far in 2019 to the campaign that it began in August 2017. The new defendants are Aduro Technologies (2:19-cv-00480), BVGA Mipow (3:19-cv-00393), Culver LED Lighting Solutions (8:19-cv-00120), Feit Electric (2:19-cv-00485), Home Controls (3:19-cv-00144), Lifi Labs (5:19-cv-00392), and NORA Lighting (2:19-cv-00488), each accused of infringing a single LED lighting patent acquired from Honeywell. Technical LED IP has now filed almost 20 cases in this campaign, across various districts, all of these most recent cases in California district courts. Its disclosures there identify both Cerinet USA and Honeywell as nonparties having an interest in the outcome of the litigation.
Data Scape Files Against Box, Re-Files Against Dropbox
January 27, 2019
Networking, New Patent Litigation
Data Scape Limited continues to add cases to the litigation campaign begun in late 2017 in Germany. This past week the NPE, formed in Ireland, sued Box (6:19-cv-00025) and Dropbox (6:19-cv-00023) in the Western District of Texas, asserting against each the same four patents broadly related to storing and syncing data files in a distributed computing environment. Data Scape received the patents through a March 2017 assignment from Sony in a transaction involving over 20 issued US patents, together with various foreign assets. Data Scape targets products and services of the defendants that sync documents and data (e.g., music files) across servers and client devices, calling out in these complaints various Box services (Platform, for Business, for Individuals & Teams, Sync, Drive), as well as Dropbox Business. Both suits are filed in the Waco division of Western District of Texas; Data Scape has filed a notice of dismissal without prejudice of the case filed earlier in January against Dropbox in the Austin division.
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