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Bell Northern Research, LLC filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission (ITC) against the proposed respondents BBK Electronics(Oneplus), BLU products,
HMD Global, Lenovo(Motorola Mobility), Sonim, and
TCL (TCT Mobile) (337-TA-3568). District lawsuits are already underway against several of these companies, with lawsuits brought by Bell Northern active against Apple,
CommScope (ARRIS; Wireless Ruckus), Dell, and HPalso. The activities of one of the defendants who are no longer involved in this campaign, Samsung, form the basis of a domestic industry’s claim relied on by Bell Northern, although it âreserves the right to rely on other licenses or additional licenses, or on its own substantial investments in licensing of claimed patents, to meet domestic industry requirement â. .
In its complaint against the ITC, Bell Northern describes its “lineage” as “extending[ing] Go back to a collection of companies in the 1800s called the Bell System, which arose out of ideas and patented technologies created by Alexander Graham Bell “. After recounting the breakdowns and mergers of various parts of this” Bell System ” , BNR argues that it is a Delaware LLC “formed primarily by alumni of former Bell companies, including Nortel Networks, to administer and license patents developed by the Bell Systems companies, as well as other technology companies â.
Bell Northern disclosed its parent companies,
Hilco, Inc. (d / b / a Hilco Mondial),
Hilco IP Merchant Capital, LLC, and Acquisition of Hilco 56 patents, as non-parties with an interest in the outcome of its dispute. The links between Bell Northern and financial services conglomerate Hilco are covered in more detail in the August campaign titled “Bell Northern Research Keeps Its Mobile Devices Campaign Alive with Suits Against Apple, Lenovo” on
RPX Insight, which also provides additional details regarding the past history of this campaign.
Huawei, Kyocera, LG Electronics, Samsung, Yulong Computer Communications (Coolpad Technologies), and
ZTE all saw complaints filed against them, followed by the gradual rejection of the patents in question before possible settlement and rejection with prejudice.
As noted, this is an apparent license granted to Samsung which Bell Northern indicates as providing a link to the US activity which constitutes its current claim against a domestic industry, albeit, as required. , submits a confidential document describing for the Council its current list of licensees. The public complaint also relates an alleged history of licensing contacts with the proposed respondents from December 2017 (with respect to Lenovo and TCL), January 2018 (for BLU products), February 2018 (Sonim) and July 2019 ( BBK / OnePlus and HMD).
Four patents are claimed in the Bell Northern ITC complaint (7,319,889; 8,204,554; 8,416,862; RE48,629). Applicant describes the ‘889 and’ 554 patents as “the improvisation[ing] on wireless technology by developing a way to extend the use of a mobile device without increasing battery capacity â; the ‘862 patent, as an’ improvisation[ing] the effectiveness of wireless communication systems transmitting feedback of beamforming information from the transmitter, particularly using polar coordinates “; and the ‘629 patent, as” improvisation[ing]on wireless communication systems by developing a means of ensuring compatibility with existing devices having different standards (eg 802.11a and 802.11g) and reducing the power supply “.
As part of its complaints in the district courts, the plaintiff has asserted 16 patents, in overlapping sets, most recently at the end of September, lawsuits against BBK Electronics (OnePlus) (3: 21-cv-02293) in the North District of Texas and against BLU Products (1: 21-cv-23484) in the South District of Florida. Throughout this campaign, the Hilco subsidiary targeted the device (for example, smartphone) compliance with various 802.11 networking standards, the incorporation of heat sinks, proximity sensors, alarm systems, etc.
Currently available USPTO assignment records identify over 110 patent assets owned by Bell Northern itself. Please note that in January 2018, three subsidiaries of Hilco (Bell Northern Research, as well as Bell Semiconductor, LLC and Hilco Patent Acquisition 56) granted security rights over more than 3,700 patent assets, including patents currently in litigation, to unnamed âsecured partiesâ. by a document signed on behalf of these parties by Cortland Capital Market Services, a Chicago-based investment services firm (and a subsidiary of a global private equity firm Alter domus). The vast majority of the patent assets covered by this security have been transferred to Bell Semiconductor from Broadcom through multiple assignments, dated December 8, 2017.
Bell Northern is one of a growing number of NPEs that have turned to ITC for patent enforcement. See âProven Networks Join the Ranks of NPEs Filing Before the ITCâ (June 2021) for coverage of this trend, as well as here for subsequent related developments. 9/27, ITC; 9/27, BBK / OnePlus, North Texas District; 9/30, BLU Products, South Florida District.
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