Defendants: Lenovo Group Ltd., Lenovo (U.S.), Inc., and Motorola Mobility, L.L.C. (collectively referred to herein as “Lenovo” or “Defendant”)
Plaintiff: Bell Northern Research, L.L.C.
Cause of Action:35 U.S.C. § 100
The case (click here to read the full complaint): The accusation towards Lenovo was filed on August 13 in the Western District of Texas, but this time by Devlin Law. It asserts the ‘554,’889,’629,’862,’450,’129,’930, and’435 patents, as well as two others: the 6,941,156 patents, claim 1 of which was observed indefinitely in August 2019, and the 6,696,941 patent, which is novel to litigation and concerns a mobile alarm.
In this campaign, the patents-in-suit have been gradually dismissed before a final settlement and dismissal with prejudice, which has been entered in all but one of the N.P.E.’s previous cases. Only one of Bell Northern’s two lawsuits against Samsung has been dismissed, despite the parties’ joint motion to dismiss both after a settlement.
Judge Rodney Gilstrap approved the parties’ request to dismiss in the Eastern District of Texas in October 2020. But no such ruling exists on the docket of the N.P.E.’s Western District of Texas case, which is assigned to Judge Alan D. Albright and is still active as of this report’s publishing date.
Bell Northern Research, L.L.C. has filed lawsuits against Apple (6:21-cv-00833) and Lenovo (Motorola Mobility) (6:21-cv-00847) in the Western District of Texas.
Subsets of the extensive portfolio of patents received from Broadcom are being asserted once more, with each defendant being targeted to provide a variety of devices.
This included outputs that allegedly operate according to the GSM/EDGE standard (Apple); work according to the 802.11ac standard; include means for remotely triggering an alarm (Lenovo); and have a heat spreader (both defendants).
In Bell Northern’s most recent cases, contradictory corporate disclosure declarations have been made.
However, the N.P.E. has established its relationship with the financial services multinational Hilco, Inc. (d/b/a Hilco Global) through various court filings (including the Apple case).
A look back: Bell Northern began its lawsuits against Huawei, Kyocera, Yulong Computer Communications (Coolpad Technologies), and Z.T.E. in August 2018, later adding L.G. Electronics in December and Samsung in August 2019, following the expiration of a prior license agreement with Samsung for eight of the asserted patents in December 2018.
The N.P.E. has asserted 16 U.S. patents throughout its campaign, alleging infringement by distributing Wi-Fi devices such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops, T.V.s, and smart home gadgets (e.g., refrigerators, washers, and dryers) so on.
Defendants’ Infringement Activities: Defendant designs develop, manufactures, and sells smartphones and laptop computers. Defendant’s smartphones include Moto E smartphones, such as Moto E5 and Moto E5 Play smartphones, Moto G smartphones, such as Moto G7 Power and Moto G Stylus smartphones, Moto Z smartphones, such as Moto Z, Moto Z3, Moto Z3 Droid, Moto Z4 and Moto Z Force Droid smart phones. Defendant’s laptop computers include IdeaPad laptop computers, such as IdeaPad S740 laptop computers, Legion laptop computers, such as Legion 5i laptop computers, and ThinkPad l laptop computers, such as ThinkPad X1 Extreme laptop computers (collectively “Accused Instrumentalities“).
Highlights of B.N.R.’s infringing claims:
US6858930(B2): Multi-Chip Module
Claim: A multi chip package, comprising:
a package substrate having a first side and an opposing second side, the first side for receiving package electrical connections,
integrated circuits each having a first side and an opposing second side, the first side of each of the integrated circuits electrically connected and structurally connected to the second side of the package substrate,
heat spreaders each having a first side and an opposing second side, the first side of each of the heat spreaders disposed adjacent the second side of the integrated circuits, where one each of the heat spreaders is associated with one each of the integrated circuits,
a single stiffener having a first side and an opposing second side, the stiffener covering all of the integrated circuits and heat spreaders, the first side of the stiffener disposed adjacent the second side of the heat spreaders, and
discrete components electrically connected to the second side of the package substrate and coplanar with the integrated circuits.
US6963129(B1): Multi-chip Package having a Contiguous Heat spreader Assembly
Claim: A heat spreader assembly, comprising:
a single, unibody heat spreader configured to extend across substantially the entire first surface of at least two spaced integrated circuits opposite a second surface of the integrated circuits having a bonding pad;
adhesive placed between the heat spreader and the first surface for securing the heat spreader to the first surface of the integrated circuits at a spaced distance above at least one passive device arranged in the area between the spaced integrated circuits; and
a second heat spreader interposed between the heat spreader and only of the at least two spaced integrated circuits.
US7319889(B2): System and Method for Conserving Battery Power in a Mobile Station
Claim: A mobile station, comprising:
a proximity sensor adapted to generate a signal indicative of proximity of an external object; and
a microprocessor adapted to:
(a) determine whether a telephone call is active;
(b) receive the signal from the proximity sensor; and
(c) reduce power to the display if (i) the microprocessor determines that a telephone call is active and (ii) the signal indicates the proximity of the external object;
wherein: the telephone call is a wireless telephone call;
the microprocessor reduces power to the display while the signal indicates the proximity of the external object only if the microprocessor determines that the wireless telephone call is active; and
the proximity sensor begins detecting whether an external object is proximate substantially concurrently with the mobile station initiating an outgoing wireless telephone call or receiving an incoming wireless telephone call
US7039435(B2): Proximity Regulation System for Use with a Portable Cell Phone and a Method of Operation Thereof
Claim: A portable cell phone, comprising:
a power circuit that provides a network adjusted transmit power level as a function of a position to a communications tower; and
a proximity regulation system, including:
a location sensing subsystem that determines a location of said portable cell phone proximate a user; and
a power governing subsystem, coupled to said location sensing subsystem, that determines a proximity transmit power level of said portable cell phone based on said location and determines a transmit power level for said portable cell phone based on said network adjusted transmit power level and said proximity transmit power level.
US7957450(B2): Method and System for Frame Formats for MIMO Channel Measurement Exchange
Claim: A method for communication, the method comprising:
computing a plurality of channel estimate matrices based on signals received by a mobile terminal from a base station, via one or more downlink R.F. channels, wherein said plurality of channel estimate matrices comprise coefficients derived from performing a singular value matrix decomposition (S.V.D.) on said received signals; and
transmitting said coefficients as feedback information to said base station, via one or more uplink R.F. channels.
US8204554 (B2): System and method for conserving battery power in a mobile station
Claim: A mobile station, comprising:
a proximity sensor adapted to generate a signal indicative of the existence of a first condition, the first condition being that an external object is proximate; and
a microprocessor adapted to:
(a) determine, without using the proximity sensor, the existence of a second condition independent and different from the first condition, the second condition being that a user of the mobile station has performed an action to initiate an outgoing call or to answer an incoming call;
(b) in response to a determination in step (a) that the second condition exists, activate the proximity sensor;
(c) receive the signal from the activated proximity sensor; and
(d) reduce power to the display if the signal from the activated proximity sensor indicates that the first condition exists.
US8416862(B2): Efficient feedback of channel information in a closed loop beamforming wireless communication system
Claim: A method for feeding back transmitter beamforming information from a receiving wireless communication device to a transmitting wireless communication device, the method comprising:
the receiving wireless communication device receiving a preamble sequence from the transmitting wireless device;
the receiving wireless device estimating a channel response based upon the preamble sequence;
the receiving wireless device determining an estimated transmitter beamforming unitary matrix (V) based upon the channel response and a receiver beamforming unitary matrix (U);
the receiving wireless device decomposing the estimated transmitter beamforming unitary matrix (V) to produce the transmitter beamforming information; and
the receiving wireless device wirelessly sending the transmitter beamforming information to the transmitting wireless device.
US6941156(B2): Automatic Handoff for Wireless Piconet Multimode Cell Phone
Claim: A multimode cell phone, comprising:
a cell phone functionality; and
an R.F. communication functionality separate from said cell phone functionality;
a module to establish simultaneous communication paths from said multimode cell phone using both said cell phone functionality and said R.F. communication functionality; and
an automatic switch over module, in communication with both said cell phone functionality and said R.F. communication functionality, operable to switch a communication path established on one of said cell phone functionality and said R.F. communication functionality, with another communication path later established on the other of said cell phone functionality and said R.F. communication functionality.
US6696941(B2): Theft Alarm in Mobile Device
Claim: A method of remotely triggering an alarm within a mobile wireless device, said method comprising:
receiving an alarm trigger signal from a service provider to said mobile wireless device based on user authorization; triggering a sensory output from said mobile wireless device based on receipt of said alarm trigger signal from said service provider; and
preventing a current holder of said mobile wireless device from stopping said sensory output unless an alarm P.I.N. is manually entered by said holder into said mobile wireless device.
B.N.R. rips Apple!
The NPE’s complaint against Apple targets numerous kinds of Apple TV, Apple Watches, iPods, iPhones, and Mac-branded gadgets. Apple is accused of infringing on seven patents that Bell Northern has previously litigated (6,858,930; 6,963,129; 7,039,435; 7,319,889; 7,957,450; 8,204,554; 8,416,862), as well as three patents that have never been contested (7,564,914; 8,396,072; RE48,629). (The patent in question is a reissue of the 7,990,842 previously asserted against defendants.) The patents ‘435, ‘554, and ‘889 are all about battery conservation; the patents ‘450, ‘914, ‘072, ‘862, and ‘629 are about wireless communications; and the patents ‘129 and ‘930 are about heat assembly.
Bell Northern has filed multiple “Notices of Party with Financial Interest” in California, revealing three parent companies: Hilco Global (established in Delaware in June 1986), Hilco Patent Acquisition 56 (shown in Delaware in November 2017), and Hilco IP Merchant Capital, L.L.C. (formed in Delaware in January 2016). Hilco Global is a Chicago-based financial services corporation with a diverse portfolio of businesses.
In Bell Northern’s most recent lawsuits, inconsistent corporate disclosure statements have been issued.
Bell Northern declares that it “is a private firm with no parent corporation” in the complaint against Lenovo. Yet, Hilco Patent Acquisition 56, Hilco IP Merchant Capital, and Hilco are named the N.P.E.’s parent corporations in the Apple suit.
Demand from the B.N.R.
According to Rule 38 of the Federal Code of Civil Procedure, B.N.R. requires a jury trial in all matters judged as such.
Plaintiff prayer for relief
- An award with which Lenovo has infringed US patents nos. 8,204,554, 7,319,889, RE 48,629, 8,416,862, 7,957,450, 6,941,156, 6,696,941, 6,963,129, 6,858,930, 7,039,435.
- An indemnity payable by Lenovo to compensate BNR for Lenovo’s prior infringement of US patents nos. 8,204,554, 7,319,889, RE 48,629, 8,416,862, 7,957,450, 6,941,156, 6,696,941, 6,963,129, 6,858,930, 7,039,435 and all current or future violations of law up to the date of the judgment, including interest, costs, expenses and a settlement of all infringing acts, including but not limited to acts not presented in court.
- A permanent court order prohibiting Defendants and their officers, directors, employees, agents, consultants, contractors, suppliers, distributors, affiliates, and anyone else who trades in secret with the Defendants from committing further violations.
- Increased damage due to intentional violation.
- A statement that this case is under 35 U.S.C. § 285 and award of reasonable legal fees by B.N.R.; and
- An award of any other legal or equitable process to B.N.R. that the court deems appropriate
Additional information: This is regarding the monetization professionals behind this effort may be found in Apple’s complaint: Based at least in part on a letter issued on June 1, 2018, from Afzal Dean, listed as the chairman of Bell Northern Research, to Tim Cook, C.E.O. of Apple, Bell Northern claims that Apple’s alleged patent infringement is “knowing, egregious, knowingly unlawful, and willful.“
Disclaimer: The present article intends to provide general guidance on the subject, and you can also consult us in your specific case.