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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.
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 a 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). Three of 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.
New Mobile Device Keyboard Campaign Hits Apple, Google, Samsung
June 15, 2019
Mobile Communications and Devices, New Patent Litigation
Princeps Interface Technologies LLC has launched its first litigation campaign, suing Alphabet (Google) (1:19-cv-01102), Apple (1:19-cv-01101), and Samsung (1:19-cv-01103) over a single patent entitled “Universal keyboard”. The NPE accuses the tech giants of infringement through the provision of mobile devices—smartphones, tablets, and/or others (e.g., Apple’s iPod)—with keyboard setup and selection features that allow users to switch between keyboards in various languages and/or a menu of emojis. Princeps Interface acquired the patent now asserted in a mid-April 2019 assignment from named inventor Timothy B. Higginson and Yuvee, Higginson’s former enterprise.
AT&T Accused of Infringing Family of Allegedly Standard Essential, Former Pantech Patents
June 14, 2019
Networking, New Patent Litigation
Cellular Evolution LLC, an entity formed in Delaware on April 23, 2019, has filed suit against AT&T (AT&T Mobility, Cricket Wireless) (2:19-cv-00228) in the Eastern District of Texas. The NPE asserts all five members of a family originating with failed Korean mobile phone maker Pantech, alleging that each has been declared essential to the UMTS RRC Protocol (as identified in the ETSI Special Report SR 000 314). Cellular Evolution targets AT&T’s 3G network.
Federal Circuit Rules That States Are Not Immune from IPR
June 14, 2019
Mobile Communications and Devices, Patent Litigation Feature, Semiconductors
Since early 2017, courts have grappled with the issue of whether the sovereign immunity held by states and Native American tribes could shield them from inter partes review (IPR). That debate was resolved in April as to Native American tribes, when the US Supreme Court declined to review a July 2018 Federal Circuit decision that tribal sovereign immunity does not apply to IPR. Now, the Federal Circuit has ruled that states similarly lack immunity from IPR, holding in an appeal of IPRs filed against the public University of Minnesota by Broadcom (Avago and LSI) and Ericsson that there was no reason to treat states differently from tribes in this context.
Tel Aviv University Takes a Second Run at Cisco with More Recent Patents
June 13, 2019
Networking, New Patent Litigation
Tel Aviv University (Ramot at Tel Aviv University Ltd.) has filed suit against Cisco (2:19-cv-00225) for the second time in the Eastern District of Texas, now asserting two later-issuing family members of patents briefly in suit there in 2014. The patents generally relate to converting digital electric data into modulated optical streams. Cisco is accused of infringement through the provision of fiber-optic networking equipment that allegedly utilizes electro-optical modulation techniques, including various Cisco 100G, 200G, and 400G optical modules.
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