The Northern District of California recently granted judgment on the pleadings in favor of patent-plaintiff ChriMar Systems, Inc. on antitrust and state law unfair competition counterclaims filed by accused infringers Cisco and Hewlett-Packard (HP).  According to the court, the crux of Cisco’s and HP’s counterclaims alleged that ChriMar failed to disclose and commit to license

Non-practicing entity US Ethernet Innovation’s (“USEI”) infringement action against Samsung was brought to a close last Friday, with E.D. Tex. Judge Michael H. Schneider granting the parties’ joint motion for dismissal with prejudice. USEI filed this action against Samsung and peripheral printing device manufacturer OKI Data Americas on June 22, 2012, alleging that certain OKI

Two weeks ago we noted a slew of infringement lawsuits brought by Wyncomm LLC, a non-practicing entity, against dozens of companies over a WiFi-related patent that was formerly owned by AT&T.  Today, yet another NPE accused multiple companies of infringing WiFi-related patents that used to belong to an telecommunications company.  This time, the NPE is an entity named Innovative Wireless Solutions LLC (“IWS”), and the patents it is asserting were originally owned by Northern Telecom (later Nortel Networks).  Unlike Wyncomm, who filed in Delaware, IWS filed its suits in the Eastern District of Texas.  And instead of targeting a number of hardware manufacturers like Apple and Asus, IWS filed suit against a variety of hotel chains large and small, including Marriott, Starwood, Wyndham and Grayson Hospitality.  (Hotel chains were also a popular target for Innovatio IP Ventures, another NPE asserting WiFi-related patents).  An example of one of the complaints filed today by IWS (against Marriott) may be viewed here.

[UPDATE] Since we first posted this, many more complaints filed by Innovative Wireless Solutions have come to light.  The defendants include not just hotels, but also other businesses such as coffee and sandwich shops (again, apparently taking a page right out of Innovatio’s playbook).  The full list of defendants, which is available after the jump, has been updated to reflect these other suits. [/UPDATE]


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Chrimar Systems (also known as CMS Technologies) is a non-practicing entity that owns patents that it claims are essential to IEEE Power-over-Ethernet technology — amendments 802.3af and 802.3at to the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard.  Chrimar has litigated several cases throughout the years based on these patents, including a (now-terminated) ITC case (Inv. No. 337-TA-817).  Chrimar’s website lists several licensees for its Power-over-Ethernet patents, as well.

But now it looks like Chrimar’s standard-essential portfolio just got a little bit smaller.  Yesterday, in Chrimar Systems v. Foundry Networks (now Brocade Communications Systems), the Federal Circuit affirmed a lower court ruling that had invalidated claims 14 and 17 of U.S. Patent No. 5,406,260.  
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e.d. tex caseIt’s well-known that concerns about patent assertions by non-practicing entities were part of the impetus for the America Invents Act of 2011.  In order to prevent multiple unrelated defendants from being added to the same infringement suit on the sole basis that they are accused of infringing the same patent, the AIA added the so-called “misjoinder” provision (35 U.S.C. § 299) to the patent laws.  Briefly, Section 299 provides that defendants are properly joined if (1) infringement is asserted against the defendants based on the same transaction or occurrence or as to the same accused product or process, and (2) questions of fact common to all defendants will arise in the action.  Over the past year and a half, courts have been grappling with evaluating whether otherwise unrelated defendants are properly joined in infringement actions.  In his recent ruling in an Eastern District of Texas case involving IEEE 802.3 Ethernet technology, Magistrate John D. Love held that standards-compliant system-on-a-chip (SoC) suppliers may be properly joined with their customers under Section 299.
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On January 17, 2013, Magistrate Judge John D. Love issued an order in Network-1 Security Solutions, Inc. v. Alcatel-Lucent USA Inc., No 6:11-cv-492 (E.D. Tex.), granting the defendants’ motion to sever the case into several different actions.  Judge Love found that infringement allegations stemming from the defendants’ compliance with the same technology standard was insufficient to warrant joinder.  However, Judge Love found that in order to effectively manage the cases and preserve judicial resources, the cases would be consolidated for all pre-trial purposes except venue.


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