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February 26, 2020
New Patent Litigation, Semiconductors
Bell Semiconductor, LLC (Bell Semic) has added an Eastern District of Texas case against TI (2:20-cv-00048) to the suits that it brought last November against Renesas Electronics in the Middle District of Florida and Integrated Device Technology (IDT) in the District of Delaware. The plaintiff, a member of the Hilco, Inc. (d/b/a Hilco Global) family of companies, targets the provision of various semiconductor devices (e.g., controllers, MCUs, processors, SOCs, transceivers, etc.) throughout this campaign, asserting against TI five patents new to the litigation as well as four already in suit. Bell Semic received all the assets from Broadcom in December 2017.
February 23, 2020
In Case You Missed It, Semiconductors
In June 2018, a Texas jury issued a $400M infringement verdict for KIPB LLC (f/k/a KAIST IP US LLC), a US-based subsidiary of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), a South Korean state-run research university. The verdict included a finding that Samsung had infringed a single KAIST patent through the provision of semiconductor products utilizing FinFET technology, as well as a finding that GlobalFoundries and Qualcomm had infringed through the provision of chips and devices that incorporate FinFET architectures. Earlier this month, District Judge Rodney Gilstrap overturned the damages award, which had been issued against Samsung, holding that it had not been entirely supported by the evidence—offering the plaintiff a remittitur of $203M or a new trial on damages. KAIST has now opted for the lower amount.
February 23, 2020
Mobile Communications and Devices, Patent Litigation Feature
CyWee Group Ltd., a spin-off of the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), hit a roadblock in its ongoing smartphone motion-sensing campaign in early January, when the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) invalidated claims from both patents-in-suit in an inter partes review (IPR) filed by Google. Now, shortly after the PTAB released redacted, public versions of those two decisions, CyWee has filed a second lawsuit against Google (6:20-cv-00128), alleging that the company should have listed another campaign defendant, LG Electronics (LGE), as a real party in interest (RPI) in its IPRs—in which case the petitions would have been time-barred. The NPE’s complaint follows an earlier attempt to raise a similar RPI argument before the PTAB, which rejected that defense in its January final decisions.
Various Uses of VR Functionality, in Training and Elsewhere, Targeted in Virtual Immersion's Latest Round of Suits
February 21, 2020
E-Commerce and Software, Media Content and Distribution, New Patent Litigation
Virtual Immersion Technologies LLC (VIT), an entity under the apparent control of Equitable IP Corporation, has hit Exxon Mobil (1:20-cv-00966), Gilbane (1:20-cv-01212), Hochtief (Turner Construction) (1:20-cv-00974), Jacobs Engineering (1:20-cv-00969), M.A. Mortenson (d/b/a Mortenson Construction) (1:20-cv-00971), and Siemens (1:20-cv-00973) in its campaign, begun in 2016, over a single patent generally related to virtual reality entertainment systems. Targeted throughout the campaign have been the defendants’ use and/or provision of “virtual and augmented reality technologies and services”. For example, the complaint against Exxon Mobil details the alleged use of VR technology to facilitate safety training among its employees; the Siemens complaint, the alleged use of VR technology in product development software.
February 21, 2020
Automotive, E-Commerce and Software, Mobile Communications and Devices, Networking, New Patent Litigation
Last week RPX reported the assignment of the remaining former IBM assets acquired last fall by Daedalus Group LLC to new Maryland entity Slingshot IOT LLC. Most of those assets were transferred in late January to Daedalus Blue LLC, a entity that has subsequently begun asserting a subset of them, filing a case against dronemaker DJI. Last week, Slingshot IOT assigned nearly 20 assets, roughly a third of what it received from Daedalus Group, to Quartz Auto Technologies, LLC, another new Maryland entity, which has also now turned plaintiff, suing Uber (6:20-cv-00126) in the Western District of Texas over six of those patents.
February 21, 2020
Consumer Electronics and PCs, Mobile Communications and Devices, New Patent Litigation
SVV Technology Innovations (d/b/a Lucent Optics) has filed its first lawsuit, accusing Samsung (6:20-cv-00139) of infringing seven patents generally related to films and structures that alter light passing through them. The plaintiff accuses Samsung of infringement through the provision of QLED (“quantum dot LED”) TVs “and other products containing LED-illuminated LCD displays, including televisions, computer monitors, tablets, and handheld devices”.
February 20, 2020
Consumer Electronics and PCs, New Patent Litigation
Sharpe Innovations Inc. has filed suit against retailers Best Buy (1:20-cv-00178) and Target (1:20-cv-00110) in the Western District of Texas, as well as against Tucows (1:20-cv-00166) in the District of Delaware. The new cases join active 2020 defendant Verizon (Visible Service), which was sued in mid-January in the District of Colorado. Each complaint has seen two patents generally related to a SIM card adapter that allows use of a smaller-format SIM card in an device that uses a larger-format SIM card (where the adapter body has a cut-out region “defined by walls” and that has a floor, with that region shaped to fit a micro SIM). At issue in the campaign, which began in June 2017, has been the provision of certain cellular SIM cards—here, Best Buy over SIM cards from Consumer Cellular, Target over FreedomPop SIM card kits, and Tucows over its own starter kit.
February 18, 2020
Patent Market, Patent Watch, Semiconductors
Early in February Microchip and its subsidiaries Atmel and Microsemi assigned another batch of US patent assets, this time 50 issued patents and a handful of additional applications, to an NPE formed in Ireland. The recipient is Sonraí Memory Limited, which Irish records link to Data Scape Limited, Neodrón Limited, and Solas OLED Limited, each of which has launched sizeable litigation campaigns that have remained active since Data Scape first began filing suit in December 2018. Prominent financial backing for the three campaigns suggests litigation from Sonraí Memory is likely coming.
February 18, 2020
In Case You Missed It
Since his confirmation to the bench in September 2018, District Judge Alan D. Albright has taken active steps to make the Western District of Texas the new hotbed for patent litigation, including issuing a standing order that implements rules designed to appeal to all parties. Based on the early 2020 numbers (through February 14), all patent plaintiffs have taken notice, but NPEs in particular have decided to file in West Texas in ever increasing numbers, elevating Judge Albright’s district to the top of the list of most popular districts with such plaintiffs—above both the historical frontrunner, the Eastern District of Texas, and the more recent leader, the District of Delaware.
After Dismissal Order in California’s Northern District, WiNet Labs Turns to the Northern District of Illinois
February 18, 2020
Mobile Communications and Devices, Networking, New Patent Litigation
A couple of weeks after District Judge Edward J. Davila granted a motion to dismiss a Northern District of California complaint filed by WiNet Labs LLC against Apple, the plaintiff has tagged two new defendants: Lenovo (Motorola Mobility) (1:20-cv-01094) and LG Electronics (LGE) (1:20-cv-01096), each in the Northern District of Illinois this time. The same patent, generally related to a hierarchical protocol for forming an “ad-hoc network”, is asserted, against Motorola Mobility’s “‘Mobile Hotspot’ service” and against LGE’s “ ‘Music Flow’ service”, which each defendant is alleged to have provided “through software within [its own] possession, custody, and control”, without relying “on hardware, software, or firmware within the possession, custody, or control” of users of the accused products. This language appears designed to defend against a motion to dismiss for failure to properly allege direct infringement, given Judge Davila’s order.