Thursday, May 9, 2013

In Motorola lawsuit, Intellectual Ventures asks two district courts to force Sprint to deliver documents

In October 2011 patent aggregator and licensing firm Intellectual Ventures sued Motorola Mobility while it was in the midst of being acquired by Google. In the post I just linked to I couldn't help but highlight the irony that Google had invested in the "Invention Investment Fund I", one of the patent investment funds created by IV. IV operates in a way not dissimilar to private equity firms, creating funds which then buy and subsequently monetize assets, delivering returns to their fund-specific investors. Google did not invest in all IV funds, and IV investor aren't necessarily licensees. In this case, it's clear that Google has yet to take a license because its acquisition of Motorola Mobility hasn't made IV's patent infringement action in the District of Delaware go away.

The latest news concerning this dispute is that IV filed petitions to compel three different Sprint Nextel entities to produce documents and source code and provide witnesses in connection with Intellectual Ventures I LLC and Intellectual Ventures II LLC v. Motorola Mobility LLC. IV filed a petition targeting Virgin Mobile in the District of New Jersey, and against Sprint Nextel and Boost Mobile in the District of Kansas. It wants information "regarding the cellular networks [Sprint] provides to its customers and the operation and use of the accused Motorola cellular phone handsets in connection with those networks". The six patents-in-suit cover a variety of features, with two patents being relevant to the Sprint-related petitions: U.S. Patent No. 7,409,450 on a "transmission control protocol/internet protocol (TCP/IP) packet-centric wireless point to multi-point (PtMP) transmission system architecture" and U.S. Patent No. 7,810,144 on a "file transfer system for direct transfer between computers". IV's petition refers to the '450 patent as "the QoS [Quality of Service] Patent" and to the '144 patent as "the MMS Patent".

The schedule for the infringement action in Delaware includes the following key milestones:

Mediation Conference04/16/2013
Claim Construction Opening Briefs07/26/2013
Claim Construction Hearing11/01/2013
Final Pretrial Conference12/19/2013
Jury Trial01/21/2014

Other major Android device makers have already entered into license agreements with IV, but Google's Motorola Mobility is a major holdout. Sounds familiar.

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