Patent Filings Roundup: End to the New Year Lull; Torchlight Patent IPRs Instituted

patent filingsPatent filings began picking up again this week after a slow start in the new year in both the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and district courts. The PTAB had a busy week with 31 new filings—one Post Grant Review (PGR) and the rest Inter Partes Reviews (IPRs).

Nearly half of all new PTAB filings came from just two entities: Apple and Neurent Medical. Apple filed four IPRs against three THL Holding Company, LLC patents, generally related to location tracking, all of which were asserted against Apple by THL in February of last year. Apple also filed two IPRs against Carbyne LLC / Carbyne Biometrics LLC [both associated with Bjorn Markus Jakobsson] patents (discussed below). Eight IPRs were filed against eight of inventor-controlled Proxense, LLC’s biometric authentication patents (three by Google and two by Microsoft), which target the provision of universal platform password-less architecture. Another eight filings came from Neurent Medical, challenging eight Aerin Medical / The Foundry, LLC patents relating to medical device treatments for nasal airways.

The PTAB was also busy issuing 27 institution decisions (21 instituted and 6 not instituted). Six IPRs (filed by multiple car companies, including Mercedes-Benz USA LLC, Porsche Cars North America Inc., Volkswagen Group of America Inc.) were instituted against two Yechezkal Evan Spero Patents, which are asserted by the apparently-funded Torchlight Technologies (discussed further below), while one IPR was procedurally denied based on joinder. Four Sony IPRs were instituted challenging two Jawbone Innovations LLC Patents [funding unknown].

The district court filings also picked up, with 49 new filings, nearly 1/3 of which were new filings by Hyperice Inc. Other new district court filings primarily involved continuations of previous and existing NPE campaigns including new cases filed by Aml IP LLC [Dnyamic IP Deals, LLC (d/b/a DynaIP)], Synkloud [SY Ventures], Datacloud [IP Investments Group LLC], and Consolidated Transaction Processing [Equitable IP Corporation].

Inventor-controlled Songbird Tech, LLC revived its campaign that targets voice assistant platforms, filing two new suits against LC Electronics and ASUSTeK while Led Apogee [Jeffrey M. Gross] continued its newly started single-patent campaign (three new filings last week and two new filings this week) asserting a single patent related to LED driver technology against STMicroelectronics, MediaTek, NXP, Microchip Technology, and Analog Devices. Factor 2 Multimedia Systems, LLC launched a new campaign this week, asserting user verification patents against TickTok and ByteDance.

Torchlight Technologies’ Light Dimmed

The apparently-funded Torchlight Technologies LLC filed suit against General Motors (in a first complaint) and Mercedes-Benz [f/k/a Daimler], Audi, Porsche, and Volkswagen (in a second complaint) in June of 2022, asserting three patents generally relating to headlight systems. Defendants have filed a number of IPRs challenging each of the asserted patents. This week six IPRs were instituted, while a seventh was procedurally denied based on joinder.

The complaints indicate that Torchlight is the exclusive licensee of the patents. However, the cases were stayed in early 2023 to facilitate jurisdictional discovery relating to standing. During this time, the parties have been engaged in discovery disputes relating to the contents of a schedule attached to an Assignment and Assumption Agreement and a term sheet between a patent advisory firm and a litigation funder dated before Torchlight itself was even formed. In September of last year, Judge Williams ordered Torchlight to produce to full, unredacted versions of these documents to defendants.

Apple Launches IPR campaign against Security Researcher Patents

This week, Apple filed two IPRs, challenging two patents asserted by Carbyne Biometrics, LLC [Bjorn Markus Jakobsson]. Carbyne Biometrics filed suit against Apple in March of 2023 asserting six patents, including the two challenged patents, targeting authentication functions provided by Apple’s products. These patents were initially assigned to RightQuestion LLC and moved to Carbyne LLC and then from Carbyne to Carbyne Biometrics, LLC just last week. One of these patents was also previously asserted by RightQuestion LLC against Samsung in the Eastern District of Texas in 2021. That case settled in 2022. Bjorn Markus Jakobsson, a security researcher and former expert witness, is the named inventor on the asserted patents and has been associated with several NPEs since at least 2016.

Ravgen Receives Another Favorable Jury Verdict For Genetic Test Patent

Ravgen launched a wide-spread campaign in 2020, asserting its prenatal test patents against well-known companies in the testing business, including Labcorp, Quest Diagnostics, PerkinElmer, Myriad, and Illumina. In 2022, Ravgen was awarded $375.5 million from Labcorp, after a jury verdict and a judge’s order for punitive damages. Following this win, other defendants settled for undisclosed sums. This week a jury awarded Ravgen another win—this time $57 million—against the genetic testing company Natera, though this was significantly less than the $410 million sought by Ravgen. Litigation against other defendants, including Roche, and Biora remains ongoing.

Links to the cases discussed above and more are available in the Weekly UP, which can be found here.

Image Source: Deposit Photos
Author: iodrakon
Image ID: 8323866 

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