EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

11.19.17

Patent Trolls Based in East Texas Are Affected Very Critically by TC Heartland

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 3:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Of relevance and recent: US Patent Trolls Are Leaving and the Eastern District of Texas Sees Patent Cases Falling by More Than Half

Argument analysis: Justices hear horror stories about venue for patent litigation
Reference: Argument analysis: Justices hear horror stories about venue for patent litigation

Summary: The latest situation in Texas (United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in particular), which according to new analyses is the target of legal scrutiny for the ‘loopholes’ it provided to patent trolls in search of easy legal battles

According to Lex Machina, which is an invaluable service as we said yesterday, there may be a massive patent troll in the making. Several days ago the patent trolls’ lobby said that Alan Loudermilk is behind the entity named 511 Technologies, based in Marshall, Texas (where many of the trolls reside). It’s not actually a company, even if it has the word “Technologies” in its name (we recently wrote about other trolls that do this). Loudermilk, who founded this troll, has since then created what looks like another troll, Ginocchio Properties LLC, based in the same place. Will TC Heartland help squash these? We certainly hope so, but in the meantime, we have this to worry about:

Among the segments Maxell no longer operates in is magnetic tape cartridges. Once one of the most recognisable products under the Maxell brand, the company shuttered the division in 2014. That decision left only Fujifilm and Sony competing in the market, and according to USPTO assignments records from September, it is the former company that has benefitted patent-wise from its erstwhile rival’s withdrawal. Maxell transferred 53 US patents related to magnetic tapes to Fujifilm in two separate assignments on 1st September. Notably, Fujifilm is locked in a litigation fight with Sony over that same technology. As this blog detailed last week, the two sides are currently contesting an ITC investigation that could have huge implications for the availability of SEP injunctions in that venue going forward.

[...]

Loudermilk’s most recent venture is 511 Technologies, Inc, which filed 11 patent suits over the past two years against companies including Huawei, Qualcomm and Microsoft, all of which have resulted in either a voluntary or stipulated dismissal, according to Lex Machina. Previously, he was CEO of Solid State Storage Solutions, Inc, which acquired a portfolio of patents from Japan’s Renesas and asserted them against eight companies in 2011 and 2012 before transferring a portion of them to Acacia two years ago.

We wrote a lot about Acacia over the years. It is connected to Microsoft and it has repeatedly attacked GNU/Linux, which makes this troll particularly interesting to us. Another firm of interest is Rovi, which is connected to another Microsoft patent troll, Intellectual Ventures. According to news from four days ago, the ITC was called to potentially ban products. “Rovi asked the ITC to investigate the importation of certain digital video receivers and hardware and software components that use the inventions claimed in its patents,” said the report. “Both complaints were filed by Rovi right before it agreed to acquire TiVo…”

Going back to Texas, there are serious and perfectly relevant questions about its fate (and the fate of patent trolls that are based/stationed there, at least on paper). “Texas law of unfair competition by misappropriation improperly extends to offer patent and copyright protections,” Patently-O said a few days ago. This could get serious because it deviates from the national law:

On the patent side, the court cited to Bonito Boats, Inc. v. Thunder Craft Boats, Inc., 489 U.S. 141 (1989) statements that state laws that offer “substantially similar” protections are preempted by federal patent law and thus not enforceable.

As with copyright law, the appellate panel here suggested that torts that require “deceit” or “improper means” will be acceptable, but laws that focus simply on protecting the investment in product development and marketing will be preempted.

Of even greater interest, however, is TC Heartland, which is only months old and has already caused a collapse in litigation at Texas. The US will certainly be tougher on patent trolls after TC Heartland got told off at the highest level. This positive development (which is good for US technology companies) was mentioned by Dennis Crouch a few days ago when he said:

Regardless of this technicality, the rule appears now that district courts should be considering and granting improper venue decisions moving forward.

“Federal Circuit says TC Heartland changed the law,” heralded another site of patent maximalists. The USPTO refuses to tackle patent trolls (no financial incentive to do so), but judges certainly will take on the issue and it’s pleasing to see. Quoting Managing IP:

The Federal Circuit has granted Micron’s mandamus petition stating: “We conclude that TC Heartland changed the controlling law in the relevant sense: at the time of the initial motion to dismiss, before the Court decided TC Heartland, the venue defense … based on TC Heartland’s interpretation of the venue statute was not ‘available’”

Obviously it’s all known and visible to patent trolls, who prefer to maintain a low profile and extort/blackmail companies behind the scenes (avoiding challenge from judges like the above). Whether trolls get eradicated by a series of rulings depends on Congressional action (or inaction) too. That’s where lobbying comes into play. We’ll deal with that in our next post.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Software Patenting and Successful Litigation a Very Difficult Task Under 35 U.S.C. § 101

    Using loads of misleading terms or buzzwords such as "AI" the patent microcosm continues its software patents pursuits; but that's mostly failing, especially when courts come to assess pertinent claims made in the patents



  2. António Campinos Will Push Toward a France-Based Unified Patent Court (UPC)

    Frenchmen at EPO will try hard to bring momentum if not force to the Unified Patent Court; facts, however, aren't on their side (unlike Team UPC, which was always on Team Battistelli's side)



  3. In Apple v Samsung Patents That Should Never Have Been Granted May Result in a Billion Dollars in 'Damages'

    A roundup of news about Apple and its patent cases (especially Apple v Samsung), including Intel's role trying to intervene in Qualcomm v Apple



  4. Links 20/5/2018: KDevelop 5.2.2 and 5.2.3, FreeBSD 11.2 Beta 2

    Links for the day



  5. Aurélien Pétiaud's ILO Case (EPO Appeal) an Early Sign That ILO Protects Abusers and Power, Not Workers

    A famous EPO ‘disciplinary’ case is recalled; it’s another one of those EPO-leaning rulings from AT-ILO, which not only praises Battistelli amid very serious abuses but also lies on his behalf, leaving workers with no real access to justice but a mere illusion thereof



  6. LOT Network is a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

    Another reminder that the "LOT" is a whole lot more than it claims to be and in effect a reinforcer of the status quo



  7. 'Nokification' in Hong Kong and China (PRC)

    Chinese firms that are struggling resort to patent litigation, in effect repeating the same misguided trajectories which became so notorious in Western nations because they act as a form of taxation, discouraging actual innovation



  8. CIPU is Amplifying Misleading Propaganda From the Chamber of Commerce

    Another lobbying event is set up to alarm lawmakers and officials, telling them that the US dropped from first to twelfth using some dodgy yardstick which favours patent extremists



  9. Patent Law Firms That Profit From Software Patent Applications and Lawsuits Still 'Pull a Berkheimer' to Attract Business in Vain

    The Alice-inspired (Supreme Court) 35 U.S.C. § 101 remains unchanged, but the patent microcosm endlessly mentions a months-old decision from a lower court (than the Supreme Court) to 'sell' the impression that everything is changing and software patents have just found their 'teeth' again



  10. A Year After TC Heartland the Patent Microcosm is Trying to 'Dilute' This Supreme Court's Decision or Work Around It

    IAM, Patent Docs, Managing IP and Patently-O want more litigation (especially somewhere like the Eastern District of Texas), so in an effort to twist TC Heartland they latch onto ZTE and BigCommerce cases



  11. Microsoft Attacks the Vulnerable Using Software Patents in Order to Maintain Fear and Give the Perception of Microsoft 'Safety'

    The latest patent lawsuits from Microsoft and its patent trolls (which it financially backs); these are aimed at feeble and vulnerable rivals of Microsoft



  12. Links 19/5/2018: Mesa 18.0.4 and Vim 8.1

    Links for the day



  13. Système Battistelli (ENArque) at the EPO is Inspired by Système Lamy in Saint-Germain-en Laye

    Has the political culture of Battistelli's hometown in France contaminated the governance of the EPO?



  14. In Australia the Productivity Commission Decides/Guides Patent Law

    IP Australia, the patent office of Australia, considers abolishing "innovation patents" but has not done so yet (pending consultation)



  15. Fishy Things Noticed Ahead of the Passage of a Lot of EPO Budget (Applicants' Money) to Battistelli's Other (and Simultaneous) Employer

    Observations and odd facts regarding the affairs of the council in St Germain; it certainly looks like Battistelli as deputy mayor and the mayor (Arnaud Péricard) are attempting to hide something



  16. Links 18/5/2018: AsteroidOS 1.0 Released, More Snyk/Black Duck FUD

    Links for the day



  17. Today's EPO Financially Rewards Abuses and Violations of the Law

    Battistelli shredded the European Patent Convention (EPC) to pieces and he is being rewarded for it, perpetuating a pattern of abuses (and much worse) being rewarded by the European Patent Organisation



  18. So-Called 'System Battistelli' is Destroying the EPO, Warn Insiders

    Low-quality patent grants by the EPO are a road to nowhere but a litigious climate in Europe and an unattractive EPO



  19. Rise in Patent Trolls' Activity in Germany Noted Amid Declining Patent Quality at the EPO

    The UPC would turn Europe into some sort of litigation ‘super-state’ — one in which national patent laws are overridden by some central, immune-from-the-law bureaucracy like the EPO; but thankfully the UPC continues its slow collapse



  20. EPO's Battistelli Taking Days Off Work for Political 'Duties' (Parties) in His French Theatre Where He'll Bring Buckets of EPO Budget (EPO Stakeholders' Money)

    More tales from Saint-Germain-en-Laye...



  21. Links 16/5/2018: Cockpit 168, GCompris 0.91, DHCP Bug

    Links for the day



  22. The EPO's 'Inventor Award' Scam: Part III

    An addendum to the "inventor of the year" affair, namely the case of Remmal



  23. Apple and Microsoft Are Still Suing Companies -- Using Patents of Course -- Which 'Dare' Compete (by Leveraging GNU/Linux)

    The vanity of proprietary software giants — as the latest news serves to reveal — targeting companies with patent lawsuits, both directly and indirectly



  24. The Anti-PTAB (Patent Quality), Anti-§ 101 Lobby is Losing Its Mind and It Has Become Amusing to Observe

    The rants about the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), the courts and even the law itself have reached laughable levels; this reveals that the real agenda of patent maximalists is endless litigation and their methods boil down to those of an angry mob, not legal professionals



  25. EPO Has Become Overzealous About Software Patents, Probably More So Than Almost Anywhere Else

    The promotion of an extreme patent regime in Europe continues unabated; whether it succeeds or not depends on what EPO examiners and citizens of Europe can do



  26. Links 15/5/2018: Black Duck's Latest FUD and the EFF's EFFail FUD Debunked Further

    Links for the day



  27. Xiaomi, Samsung, TCL and Others Demonstrate That in a World With an Abundance of Stupid Patents Like Design Patents Nobody is Safe

    The "Cult of Patents" (typically a cabal of law firms looking to have everything on the planet patented) has created a battlefield in the mobile world; every company, once it gets big enough, faces a lot of patent lawsuits and dying companies resort to using whatever is in their "portfolio" to destroy everyone else inside the courtroom (or demand 'protection' money to avert lawsuits)



  28. A Google-Centric and Google-Led Patent Pool Won't Protect GNU/Linux But Merely 'Normalise' Software Patents

    Patent pools, which are basically the wrong solution to a very clear problem, continue to expand and promote themselves; the real solution, however, is elimination of abstract patents, notably software patents



  29. The Patent Microcosm is Still Looking for Ways to Bypass CAFC/PTAB Invalidation of Many US Patents

    In pursuit of patent maximalism (i.e. a status quo wherein US patents — no matter their age — are presumed valid and beyond scrutiny) pundits resort to new angles or attack vectors, ranging from the bottom (IPRs) to the top (Supreme Court)



  30. Inter Partes Reviews (IPRs) Make the United States a Much Better Place for Innovation and Creation

    Jim Logan of Personal Audio LLC (a patent troll) suffers one final blow and other news of interest serves to show just how valuable IPRs have become in the US


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts