Much debate has centered on patent reform and efforts to curtail the litigious activities of patent assertion entities (PAEs) also referred to as “patent trolls.” However, and as underscored for example by the number of patent lawsuits filed by Texas-based PAE PanTaurus, LLC this past year, PAEs continue to present a significant patent litigation presence.
Since September 3, 2013, PanTaurus has launched three waves of patent infringement litigation in the Eastern District of Texas, alleging infringement of U.S. Patent Number 6,272,533, which pertains to computer security technology. In all, 42 separate lawsuits have been filed against named defendants representing a broad cross-section of well-known consumer brands. Of these 42 lawsuits, about half have either settled or otherwise dismissed.
PanTaurus has recently been put on the defensive. On August 29, 2014, California-based Unified Patents Inc., which describes itself as a “first-of-its-kind company whose sole purpose is to deter PAE litigation,” filed a petition with the USPTO requesting institution of inter partes review (IPR) of 11 of the ‘533 patent’s 45 claims. The case number is IPR2014-01425 (Unified Patents Inc. v. PanTaurus, LLC). In support of these and other efforts, Unified claims to have secured memberships from more than 40 companies in the “Content Delivery industry” (presumably including at least some of the 42 companies targeted in the PanTaurus lawsuits).
The USPTO will decide whether or not to institute the IPR in response to Unified’s petition within the next four to five months. Drawing on its extensive PAE defense experience, Gibbons will continue to monitor developments in the PanTaurus district court litigations and Unified Patents’s requested IPR proceeding.