Two new SEP-related patent infringement complaints were filed this week in the Central District of California by AIM IP, a non-practicing entity based in Mission Viejo, CA.  These complaints accuse Aastra USA, Inc. and AudioCodes, Inc. each of infringing claims of U.S. Patent No. 5,920,853, titled “Signal Compression Using Index Mapping Technique for the Sharing of Quantization Tables.”  AIM IP accuses various Aastra and AudioCodes Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) devices of infringing the patent based on the devices’ compliance with and use of the ITU G.729 audio compression standard.

[UPDATE] After this was originally posted, we discovered several additional new suits filed by AIM IP over the ‘853 patent.  These were filed against ClearOne, Digium, Media5, Obihai, and Patton Electronics, and are linked to below. [/UPDATE]

According to AIM IP’s complaints, the technology underlying the ‘853 patent was developed   by the inventors while they were working at Rockwell International in the 1990s.  AIM IP alleges that the ‘853 patent’s technology was presented to the ITU, Rockwell disclosed the existence of the patent application the led to the ‘853 patent, and the technology was subsequently implemented in the the G.729 standard.  It appears from a quick review of the ITU Patent Database that prior owners of the ‘853 patent — including Rockwell, Mindspeed Technologies, and Conexant Systems — have agreed to license this patent on RAND terms.  The scope and meaning of these RAND obligations may play a role as these cases proceed, particularly because AIM IP’s complaints seek a variety of relief from the court, including not only damages for infringement, but an injunction enjoining Aastra and AudioCodes from further infringement.

Neither AIM IP nor this patent is a stranger to litigation — AIM IP has previously asserted the ‘853 patent in several infringement actions filed in the Central District of California over the past couple of years, including a 2011 complaint against a number of companies including Cisco, and several June 2012 complaints.