Last month, Judge James F. Holderman dismissed various claims brought by Cisco, Motorola Solutions, and NETGEAR against Innovatio IP Ventures, LLC over Innovatio’s vast licensing and litigation campaign relating to the IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi standard.  These suppliers claimed that Innovatio — in threatening the suppliers’ customers and bringing litigation over standard-essential patents — violated various unfair competition laws, and even the Federal Racketeering and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”).  But the court found that Innovatio’s conduct was protected petitioning activity under the Noerr-Pennington doctrine, and that the suppliers did not properly plead that the conduct was a “sham” that would exempt this activity from protection.  Yesterday, the suppliers filed a motion for entry of final judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b), which indicates that the suppliers want to appeal the dismissal of these claims as soon as possible to keep the heat on Innovatio.
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gavelWe’ve previously discussed the wide-ranging assertion activities of Innovatio IP Ventures LLC, a non-practicing entity that has targeted thousands of companies across the country over patents related to the IEEE 802.11 wireless networking (Wi-Fi) standard.  And due to an amended complaint filed in October 2012 by Motorola Solutions, Cisco, and Netgear in the Northern District of Illinois, Innovatio has been facing a litany of charges relating to this licensing and litigation campaign.  These charges include breach of contractual RAND obligations, state law unfair competition, civil conspiracy, and even violation of the federal civil RICO statute.  In November, Innovatio moved to dismiss these claims.  This week, Chief Judge James F. Holderman granted much of Innovatio’s motion, dismissing all of the claims except for the RAND-based breach of contract and promissory estoppel claims.  This ruling is indicative of the substantial hurdles that potential licensees of standard-essential patents face in attempting to show when patent holders’ assertion of rights and licensing demands may cross legal boundaries — and it may also further muddy the already murky waters surrounding the scope of RAND obligations.
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Because so many SEP-related issues have arisen over the past year, we will periodically revisit some of the more noteworthy occurrences with a brief post.  In this post, we explore recent and ongoing patent assertion activities of Innovatio IP Ventures, LLC.

On February 28, 2011, Broadcom Corporation assigned 31 U.S. patents to a company named Innovatio IP Ventures, LLC.  After acquiring these patents, Innovatio then sent letters to thousands of entities – including restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, grocery stores – alleging infringement of these patents, which Innovatio claimed to be essential to the 802.11 Wi-Fi standard.  Innovatio sought royalties from these entities, reportedly seeking $2500-3000 from each outlet for a license to the patents.  When negotiations broke down, Innovatio also filed lawsuits against dozens of these entities, claiming they infringed the patents through their respective use of products that comply with the 802.11 standard.


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