In late April we shared with you the litigation activities of Innovative Wireless Solutions LLC, a non-practicing entity that filed 40+ lawsuits in the Eastern District of Texas against a variety of hotels, hotel chains, and restaurants/coffee shops/delis. IWS asserted that by providing wireless interest service to their customers, these defendants infringed three patents originally owned by Nortel Networks that IWS later acquired. IWS was apparently following a Innovatio IP Ventures-style model, asserting patents formerly owned by a practicing entity (here, Nortel) against end users of the allegedly-infringing technology (here, as with Innovatio, mostly hotels). But late last week, IWS’s litigations took a decidely un-Innovatio-like turn — while Innovatio’s litigations mostly continue on in N.D. Ill., IWS filed motions to voluntarily dismiss its allegations of infringement in all of its E.D. Tex. cases.
This does not necessarily mean that IWS has ceased its patent enforcement campaign, however. All of the cases were in the early stages — no answers had been filed yet, and defendants’ counsel hadn’t even entered appearances in many of the cases. Notably, IWS’s motions to dismiss were for dismissal without prejudice (and the court has begun granting these on that basis), meaning that IWS is free to file identical claims against the same defendants in the future — so it doesn’t look like the defendants paid up and settled the cases. The USPTO assignment records for IWS still only show the three patents that were previously asserted against all these defendants, but there’s no requirement to record assignment of all patents owned by a party (at least for now — this is among the patent reform issues currently being discussed). There’s always a chance that IWS has already acquired or is in the process of acquiring more patents to assert in the future. We’ll keep an eye out for future IWS standard-essential patent litigation activity.