Over a two-day period, TRW requested inter partes review of 10 Magna Electronics patents, filing two requests against three of those patents (see inter partes review Request Nos. (2) and (4) through (15)). The patents all relate to systems for controlling automobile headlights. Magna has sued TRW for infringement of the patents in the Western District of Michigan.
Subaru, Toyota and Ford each requested inter partes review of U.S. Patent No. 6,324,463 that claims a “system for indicating the operational status and parameters of a cruise control system for use in a human operated vehicle” (see inter partes review Request Nos. (24), (25) & (26)). The owner of the ‘463 patent, Cruise Control Technologies, has sued 15 car companies for infringement. Each of the three Requests proposes distinct prior art rejections of the claims. These filings follow Cruise Control’s amendment of the ‘463 claims in late October in a pending ex parte reexamination.
And Netflix filed requests against four OpenTV patents (see inter partes review Request Nos. (2), (16), (18) & (23)), Ford against two TMC Fuel Injection patents (see inter partes review Request Nos. (21 & (22)), and Apple against a WhitServe patent (see inter partes review Request No. (17)).
The number of new patent challenges continues to accelerate – last week saw thirty-two requests for inter partes review, three for post-grant review, and eighteen for ex parte reexamination. Most notably, Apple, either alone or with one or more co-requesters, attacked six patents owned by either Arendi, THX, or VirnetX (see inter partes review Request Nos. (1), (4), (5), (25), (26), & (28)). In each instance, Apple is being sued for infringement of the respective patent now being challenged. Apple was also the target of an anonymous 180-page request for ex parte reexamination (see ex parte Request No. (7)) against its U.S. Patent No. 8,463,238 claiming a mobile device base station.
There is also an increasing pattern of companies filing joint requests. For instance, Samsung, LG and HTC teamed up to request inter partes review of two content delivery patents owned by Affinity Labs of Texas (see inter partes review Request Nos. (6) & (8)).
Toshiba Samsung Storage requested inter partes review of two LG recording media patents (see inter partes review Request Nos. (2) & (3)). The companies are involved in an infringement action in Delaware.
Scott Daniels | June 11, 2013
Last week in U.S. Bancorp v. Retirement Capital Access Management, CBM2013-00014, the petitioner asked the APJs to add two additional companies to the review as petitioners and real parties-in-interest. The two companies were defendants accused in a District Court action of infringing the patent under review, but they had not themselves requested post-grant review. The APJs denied the petitioner’s request for joinder.
The APJs began their analysis by citing the statutory basis for joinder:
If more than 1 petition . . . is properly filed against the same patent and the Director determines that more than 1 of these petitions warrants the institution of a . . . review . . . the Director may consolidate such reviews into a single . . . review.