A unit of Acacia Research, the largest patent-assertion company that is publicly traded, has launched a lawsuit against all major cell phone carriers – including Apple, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint.
Cellular Communications Equipment, LLC (Acacia) claims that the five industry giants infringe four patents related to basic cell phone technologies. All four patents originated at Nokia, which has been sharing its patents in so-called “patent privateering” arrangements for a number of years. Nokia’s patents have been sold off to many different places and some alleged patent trolls have already been awarded significant sums of money in infringement trials.
Unsurprisingly, the case is being held in East Texas – a prime spot for patent trolls to base their lawsuits. Although Acacia is based in Southern California, the complaint says CCE’s principal place of business is an office in Plano, which is within the Eastern District of Texas.
Apple is clearly sick of Nokia’s privateering. In December, Apple filed an antitrust lawsuit against Nokia, saying the company hatched a plan to work with “its PAE [patent assertion entity] co-conspirators” to enforce a diffused patent portfolio, “to maximize the aggregate royalties that can be extracted from product companies.” Nokia responded by filing a huge patent infringement lawsuit against Apple the following day.
This week’s CCE lawsuit is something of a pile-on, since CCE already won a $22.1 million verdict against Apple in September for infringing on a different patent.
The patents in this suit are numbered 6,892,074 (‘074), 8,902,770, 8,254,872(‘872), and 9,037,129(‘129). Their filing dates range from 1997 to 2010.The ‘074 patent, filed in 1997, describes using primary and secondary “mobile stations” to receive voice calls and text messages. The ‘770 patent relates to “carrier aggregation” and signaling between networks. The ‘872 patent has to do with making emergency calls “without registering with IP Multimedia Subsystem,” and it was disclosed to the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) group as a standard-essential patent. The ‘129 patent relates to getting emergency alert