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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.
Mobile App Campaign Continues to Roll in 2018
July 4, 2018
E-Commerce and Software, New Patent Litigation
Aeritas LLC’s file-and-settle litigation campaign continues unabated in 2018. The latest complaint, filed against Best Buy (6:18-cv-00327), comes as the March 2018 case against Taco Bell has been dismissed in light of apparent settlement and as a stipulation of dismissal, again in light of apparent settlement, has been filed in the March 2018 case against McDonalds. Throughout this campaign, begun in October 2011, Aeritas has asserted a growing family of patents generally related to delivering information to a mobile device based both on an input provided, sometimes verbally, and on the device’s location. The NPE accuses Best Buy of infringement through the provision of various features of its mobile app, including the ability to search for store locations based on the availability of saved items for purchase as well as location and/or context-aware notifications.
As Predicted, Beck Branch Sprouts a New Networking Litigation Campaign
June 30, 2018
Networking, New Patent Litigation
Last week, in light of a second entity (Hertl Media LLC) to sue over former Nero AG patents passing through Delaware entity JLP United States Patent Solutions, LLCRPX reported that Beck Branch, LLC, a Texas entity created in April 2018, had also received a patent passing through JLP but had yet to sue. What a difference a week makes. Beck Branch has filed a flurry of complaints over the patent received, generally related to network protocol conversion, against Cisco (6:18-cv-00310), Microsoft (6:18-cv-00311), and Samsung (6:18-cv-00312) in the Eastern District of Texas, as well as against Blue Jeans Network, Lenovo (Motorola Mobility), PolycomSony, Unify, and Vonage in the District of Delaware. The NPE targets a range of products—for example, Cisco is accused of infringement through provision of various communications products utilizing VoIP and/or PTSN; Microsoft, through the provision of its Exchange server and Outlook.com server products; and Samsung, through the provision of wearables as used with its S Health fitness data platform.
Supreme Court Grants Review of Federal Circuit’s Rule Applying On-Sale Bar for Secret Sales
June 30, 2018
Biotech and Pharma, Patent Litigation Feature
The US Supreme Court has agreed to review the Federal Circuit’s controversial rule that allows the disclosure of confidential sales to trigger the on-sale bar. Under 35 Section 102(a), as amended by the America Invents Act (AIA), a patent cannot be granted if the claimed invention was “on sale, or otherwise available to the public” outside of a one-year grace period before the “effective filing date” of the patent. In May 2017, the Federal Circuit ruled in Helsinn Healthcare v. Teva Pharmaceuticals that this restriction, known as the on-sale bar, applies when a confidential sale of a patented invention is publicly disclosed even when the invention itself remains a secret, declining to rehear that decision en banc in March 2018. On June 25, the Supreme Court granted a petition for writ of certiorari filed by Helsinn Healthcare that challenges the Federal Circuit’s ruling. The petitioner criticized that holding for “cast[ing] substantial doubt on countless patents issued pursuant to” the USPTO’s post-AIA guidance, which stated that disclosures must make an invention available to the public for the bar to apply, and that it is also not triggered by an inventor’s confidential disclosures to a third-party.
Fortress’s VLSI Technology Opens Up Second Front Against Intel
June 29, 2018
New Patent Litigation, Semiconductors
VLSI Technology LLC, an apparent affiliate of Fortress Investment Group LLC, has filed another case against Intel (1:18-cv-00966), this one in Delaware, asserting five more patents, of multiple subject matters and originating from either Freescale, NXP, SigmaTel, or VLSI Technology, Inc. The new suit follows an October 2017 complaint in the Northern District of California asserting eight patents against a large number of Intel microprocessors, including Core i3, i5, and i7; Xeon E3, E5, and E7; and Atom microprocessors, as well as Stratix 10 Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) and other products that incorporate Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect Bridge (“EMIB”) technology. Now also accused of infringement are Intel products (1) containing Intel On-Chip System Fabric technology, (2) with a Power Control Unit (PCU) to compensate for Inverse Temperature Dependence “in an infringing manner”, (3) with metal dummy lines to reinforce regions under bond pads “in an infringing manner”, (4) that include an “infringing Management Engine” and a CPU that includes a memory controller, and (5) that supply an output supply voltage to a power gated circuit “in an infringing manner”.
Dominion’s Clean Energy Sues Verizon Wireless in Smart Home Campaign
June 29, 2018
Consumer Electronics and PCs, New Patent Litigation
Clean Energy Management Solutions, LLC, an affiliate of Dominion Harbor Enterprises, LLC, has filed another case in its litigation campaign over a single patent generally related to a mesh network door locking mechanism. The newest defendant is Verizon (Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless) (2:18-cv-00267), accused of infringement through provision of its SmartHub product, which the plaintiff describes as a “home control system that integrates door locks and garage door openers using mesh network connectivity”. Verizon Wireless joins Creston Electronics and United Technologies as defendants with open cases in the campaign, which has hit over a dozen companies since July 2015.
MagnaChip Assigns Patents to Longhorn IP and Quarterhill
June 29, 2018
Patent Market, Patent Watch, Semiconductors
Quarterhill Inc. announced on June 25 that it has acquired a portfolio of more than 85 patent assets from MagnaChip Semiconductor. USPTO records show that earlier in the week, MagnaChip also assigned a patent portfolio to a newly formed affiliate of Longhorn IP LLC. In addition to a number of US patents, including assets originating with SK Hynix, that transfer involved foreign counterparts in China, Japan, and South Korea.
Head, Ear, and Heart Patents Move from My Nemesis Through Design 408 Back into Court
June 29, 2018
Consumer Electronics and PCs, Medical, New Patent Litigation
Over the past month, Design 408 LLC has launched three litigation campaigns over patents that it acquired from My Nemesis, LLC, suing Omron Healthcare (1:18-cv-03724) over two electrocardiogram patents in late May; Newegg (1:18-cv-00969) and Sennheiser Electronic (1:18-cv-00969) in late June over a patent generally related to fiber optic earpieces for reducing cellphone radiation; and Neuronetics (1:18-cv-00968), also in late June, over a patent broadly concerning the delivery of microwaves to a person’s head as a form of medical therapy. My Nemesis began April 2017 campaigns over the electrocardiogram and earpiece patents in separate efforts that quickly ended in multiple dismissals without prejudice.
Achtung! and Cuidado!, Hertl Media Campaign Expands
June 28, 2018
Media Content and Distribution, New Patent Litigation
Three days after kicking off its first litigation campaign with cases against Amazon and Comcast, Hertl Media LLC has sued Bitmovin (1:18-cv-00938), Cox Communications (1:18-cv-00939), Longtail Ad Solutions (1:18-cv-00940), Netflix (1:18-cv-00941), and Telestream (1:18-cv-00942). At issue is the same patent, generally related to multi-language buffering during media playback, with Hertl Media’s infringement allegations focused on multi-language accommodations in the parties’ respective streaming services. Hertl Media’s is one of multiple campaigns arising from the acquisition of former Nero AG patents by apparent affiliates of Bradley D. Liddle.
Yates Launches iPEL, Possibly with an Eye Towards Asia
June 28, 2018
Patent Market, Patent Watch
Last year, RPX reported that patent attorney Brian Yates—who oversaw NPEs filing more than 500 patent infringement suits in 2015-2016—had formed a new entity, iPEL, Inc., and entered into a financing deal with a private credit manager. Since then, RPX has pointed readers to a number of notable acquisitions by Yates, including from Panasonic and ZTE. Yates has now publicly launched his iPEL business, and while particular attention is being paid to its licensing model, perhaps more interesting is iPEL’s Chinese patent portfolio—the size of which suggests that an enforcement campaign in Asia might be coming.
AlmondNet Files Second Suit Targeting the Former Yahoo Operations Acquired by Verizon
June 27, 2018
E-Commerce and Software, New Patent Litigation
AlmondNet, Inc., this time without its two operating subsidiaries, has sued Verizon (Oath Holdings) (1:18-cv-00943) over a single targeted advertisement patent. The complaint accuses Oath Holdings, including Oath’s “BrightRoll and former Yahoo units”, of infringement through the provision of “demand side platforms, whether labeled Oath, Yahoo, Brightroll, or other”. In the crosshairs are the platforms’ various features related to online advertising, including those that build profiles on a given website’s users based on the users’ activity on that site, and those that allow third-party advertisers to bid for access to that data. The patent-in-suit belongs to a family already in suit in a March 2016 case brought by AlmondNet (with subsidiaries Datonics, LLC and Intent IQ, LLC) against Yahoo—before the acquisition of its Internet operations by Verizon—over 11 total patents.
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