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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.
A New Dawn at Acacia?
September 15, 2019
Patent Market, Patent Watch
Last year, activist investors Sidus Investment Management and BLR Partners LP triggered a sweeping leadership change at Acacia Research Corporation. The overhaul of Acacia’s executive leadership is now apparently nearing completion, with a freshly reconstituted board of directors and the recent appointment of Clifford Press (cofounder of the investment company Hyde Park Holdings) as CEO and Alfred Tobia Jr. (cofounder of Sidus Investment Management) as CIO. Meanwhile, Acacia’s board is reportedly working to “advance” the company’s IP business, with the NPE in the midst of somewhat of a litigation revival in the wake of last year’s shake-up.
PTAB Invalidates VR Patent in HTC IPR After Campaign Withstands Alice Challenge
September 15, 2019
Consumer Electronics and PCs, Patent Litigation Feature
The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) has ruled for HTC in a consolidated inter partes review (IPR) against inventor-controlled Electronic Scripting Products, Inc. (ESPi), holding that one of the NPE’s patents is invalid as obvious in light of prior art. ESPi asserted that patent and one other, both of which generally relate to virtual and augmented reality devices, in a late-2017 complaint targeting HTC’s VIVE virtual reality (VR) headset, a product developed with codefendant Valve. Last spring, the two patents withstood a validity challenge under Alice, when District Judge Richard Seeborg, acknowledging that the decision was a “close call”, held that the patents are directed not to an abstract idea, but to an improved system for locating a “manipulated object” in a close-range three-dimensional environment that places “photodetectors and relative motion sensors” on the objects themselves. The PTAB’s September 12 final decision comes about a month after the Board’s Precedential Opinion Panel (POP) designated a ruling in another IPR against ESPi as precedential—one of nine decisions flagged as precedential since May, as USPTO Director Andrei Iancu (who sits on the POP) continues to refine PTAB policy.
With More Recent Patents in Family Battle-Tested Against Alice, Acacia’s Teleconference Systems Hits Oracle
September 14, 2019
Networking, New Patent Litigation
Teleconference Systems LLC, a subsidiary of publicly traded NPE Acacia Research Corporation, has kept its long-running videoconferencing campaign alive with a new lawsuit against Oracle (2:19-cv-00308) in the Eastern District of Texas. The plaintiff accuses Oracle of infringement through the provision of certain session border controllers, including its Acme Packet 3820/4500/4600/6100/6300/6350 Service Provider Platforms, the Oracle Unified Session Manager, and the Oracle Mobile Security Gateway. Teleconference Systems—as their exclusive licensee—asserts five patents from a family of six, omitting only the earliest member, which the NPE asserted against a slew of Cisco’s TelePresence customers to kick off this campaign back in 2009.
New Maryland Entity, with Familiar Connections, Sues Electronic Arts over Patents Apparently Acquired from IV
September 13, 2019
E-Commerce and Software, New Patent Litigation
Stone Interactive Ventures LLC, a Maryland entity created in October 2018, has filed its first lawsuit, accusing Electronic Arts (EA) (6:19-cv-00542) in a Western District of Texas complaint of infringing two patents that currently available USPTO assignment records identify as held by an Intellectual Ventures LLC (IV) subsidiary. The patents took different paths into IV’s hands, one of them generally related to virtual property management and the other, to “distributing and selling program objects”. Stone Interactive targets EA’s Apex Legend with respect to both patents, also naming its Anthem game with respect to the second.
Expanding OLED Display Panel Campaign Snags Apple
September 12, 2019
Consumer Electronics and PCs, Mobile Communications and Devices, New Patent Litigation
In December 2018, Irish entity Solas OLED Limited augmented its sizeable portfolio of patents, received from Casio in April 2016, with an additional set of assets received from Microchip Technology (Atmel) and one additional patent received from the University of Stuttgart. The patents generally relate to various aspects of display panels, and Solas OLED began asserting them in litigation by suing LG Display, LG Electronics (LGE), and Sony in the Western District of Texas, later adding cases against Samsung (in the Eastern District of Texas) and Alphabet (Google) and Dell (back in the Western District of Texas). With subsequent amendments to its early complaints and with a new case filed in the Western District against Apple (6:19-cv-00537), Solas OLED has now brought all of this litigation into a single display panel campaign.
Ancora Opens Up a Fourth Front in Its Long-Running Mobile Devices Campaign
September 11, 2019
Mobile Communications and Devices, New Patent Litigation
With its new cases, filed separately last week against Lenovo (Motorola Mobility) (1:19-cv-01712) and Sony (1:19-cv-01703) in the District of Delaware, Ancora Technologies Inc. is now actively waging its sole litigation campaign in four districts. A favorable Federal Circuit opinion revived a case over the sole patent-in-campaign—generally related to preventing unauthorized use of software on a computer—against HTC in the Western District of Washington, while June 2019 cases against LG Electronics and Samsung are getting underway in the Western District of Texas and an August 2019 suit against TCL is in the earliest stages in the Eastern District of that state. Throughout its operative complaints, Ancora targets the provision of myriad mobile devices (e.g., smartphones and tablets), calling out “over-the-air software update” features on such devices.
Lightside Continues Video Processing Campaign over Patents Issuing to “the Epitome of the Ingenious Tinkerer”
September 10, 2019
Consumer Electronics and PCs, Mobile Communications and Devices, New Patent Litigation
Lightside Technologies, LLC has followed up last month’s complaint against TCL Communication Technology (5:19-cv-01458) in the Central District of California with a new case this month against ZTE (3:19-cv-02128), filed in the Northern District of Texas. Each complaint asserts two different members of the same patent family, generally related to upscaling video content and providing video frame-rate conversion. Accused of infringement are TCL’s Roku HDTVs and UHDTVs and certain ZTE Axon smartphones with slow-motion video features. Previously, Lightside sued VIZIO (in 2017), Haier (in 2018), and Hisense (in 2019), each of which cases is now closed, the last administratively so to facilitate the finalization of a settlement.
Named Inventor Opens Up Litigation Campaign over Patents Apparently Aimed at “Zapping Fraud”
September 10, 2019
Networking, New Patent Litigation
ZapFraud, Inc., an entity formed by Bjorn Markus Jakobsson, has initiated a litigation campaign, suing Barracuda Networks (1:19-cv-01687), FireEye (1:19-cv-01688), Fortinet (1:19-cv-01689), Mimecast (1:19-cv-01690), and Proofpoint (1:19-cv-01691) in separate cases filed in the District of Delaware. A single patent naming Jakobsson as sole named inventor, and which generally relates to secure electronic communications, is asserted in each complaint with the defendants accused of infringement through the provision of email security products and services that allegedly “protect customers against email-based targeted social engineering attacks known as Business Email Compromise”, including emails where the sender is impersonating someone else.
Cedar Lane Adds Coolpad as a Defendant in Its First Campaign, Targeting Image Capture and Editing
September 8, 2019
Mobile Communications and Devices, New Patent Litigation
Cedar Lane Technologies Inc. has filed suit in the District of Delaware against Yulong Computer (Coolpad Technologies) (1:19-cv-01648), targeting the defendant’s provision of the Coolpad Illumina smartphone with six patents from a portfolio of roughly 50 patents formerly held by Intellectual Ventures LLC (IV). The NPE began this campaign in May and has since hit ten defendants with more than two dozen patents in multiple venues.
New Delaware Entity Sues HERE Technologies over Its Cellular Signals Network
September 8, 2019
E-Commerce and Software, New Patent Litigation
NavTopia LLC, an entity created in Delaware this past July, has filed suit in the Northern District of Illinois against Here Holding (d/b/a HERE Technologies) (1:19-cv-05934) over HERE Cellular Signals, which provides “multiple layers of information on the cellular networks in areas of service delivery, including network coverage, carriers, signal strength and frequency bands”. The sole patent-in-suit, and only patent that currently available USPTO records indicate has been assigned to NavTopia, generally relates to a GPS device with cellular connectivity.
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