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Unified Patents Puts $2,000 Bounties on Prior Art, Seeking to Defang Texan Patent Trolls That Are Active In Spite of TC Heartland

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Summary: There's now money in invalidation of patents (not just for defendants' lawyers in courts or petitioners at PTAB) rather than endless pursuits of more and more patents; Unified Patents offers the money, targeting patent trolls for the most part

THERE are two things that are dying out/ebbing away in the US: software patents and patent trolls. There's a strong correlation between those two things, but for the most part they're now being tackled by Alice and TC Heartland, respectively. Both are landmark decisions by the US Supreme Court and they impact the USPTO/PTAB and courts, respectively (the latter is also impacted by Alice).



There's an upcoming conference that covers PTAB and includes Unified Patents. We are very supportive of Unified Patents, behind which there are reasonable people who care about patent quality; they're not patent maximalists and some are in fact scholars/academics.

Based on this update from yesterday, there's now a $2,000 bounty on patent prior art which can stop a patent troll that's based in Texas. To quote:

On March 9, 2018, Unified issued a new contest in Patroll (a prior art crowdsourcing platform) with a $2,000 prize for winning prior art submissions that invalidate US Patent 7,526,477. The '477 patent, directed to a method and apparatus for enhancing electronic reading by identifying relationships between sections of electronic text, has been asserted in multiple litigations by Red River Innovations, LLC, a Texas-based NPE.


Another similar (same cash award) bounty was announced yesterday:

On March 9, 2018, Unified issued a new Patroll (prior art crowdsourcing platform) contest with a $2,000 prize for a winning prior art submission that invalidates US Patent 7,177,838. The '838 patent, directed to a method and apparatus for conducting electronic commerce transactions using electronic tokens, has been asserted in multiple litigations by GTX Corp., an NPE.


As a reminder of its accomplishments, Unified Patents also published this reminder yesterday -- the latest reminder of how it successfully uses PTAB to thwart bad patents/software patents:

On March 9, 2018, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board issued a final written decision in Unified Patents Inc. v. Digital Stream IP, LLC, IPR2016-01749 invalidating claims 1, 4, 6-13, 20, and 22 of U.S. Patent 6,757,913, owned and asserted by Digital Stream IP, LLC. The '913 Patent, which describes a wireless music and data transceiver system, has been asserted in multiple litigations against such companies as Best Buy, GM, Mercedes, Nissan, Honda, and Sirius XM. Only Sirius XM remains in active litigation as the majority of these cases settled after Unified filed its IPR.


Good riddance. A lot of these are exploiting a ridiculous court in Texas. They know that time is running out because after TC Heartland it's a lot harder to keep court cases there. In Snyders Heart Valve LLC v St. Jude Medical SC, Inc. et al, based on this new Docker Report, the Eastern Texas District Court/Eastern District of Texas (TXED/EDTX) is losing its status yet again. Patent trolls and bullies are unable to wage legal war in there. To quote:

The magistrate judge recommended granting defendants' motion for summary judgment of improper venue because there were no infringing acts in the district inasmuch as the accused activities fell under the safe harbor provision of 35 U.S.C. ۤ 271(e)(1).


The timing of TC Heartland does not seem to have deterred this troll which has chosen EDTX, as already noticed by some observers. Apple, which is not based in Texas but in California, has just been sued by A troll in EDTX and Apple Insider was the only/first site we saw covering it:

In its filing with the patent holder friendly Eastern Texas District Court, Portal leverages three related patents invented by Dave Bernard, CEO of technology solutions firm The Intellection Group. U.S. Patent Nos. 7,376,645, 7,873,654 and 8,150,872, all titled "Multimodal natural language query system and architecture for processing voice and proximity-based queries," were transferred from The Intellection Group, Inc. to Portal Communications in January.

Each patent deals with methods of parsing user queries from natural language patterns into machine decipherable commands, whether they be voice or text. The IP details methods of further processing requests using GPS location data, or other proximity information, to provide a context and environment for narrowing down a response.


We certainly hope Apple will crush them because our disdain for trolls is far greater than disdain for a company that's not entirely 'fake' (like a pile of patents and nothing else).

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