Cedar Lane Technologies Inc. continues to add defendants to its earliest, and largest, campaign, begun in May 2019 and quickly growing to hit almost 70 defendants with overlapping subsets of nearly 40 former Intellectual Ventures LLC (IV) patents. The newest defendants, sued so far in October, are Deezer (1:20-cv-03037), LiveXLive (1:20-cv-01370), and ViacomCBS (1:20-cv-06021), over the provision of music streaming services, and DISH Network (6:20-cv-00947) and Disney (6:20-cv-00949), over the provision of media streaming services as well as related apps and products. While streaming services are the focus of these latest complaints, at its core, this campaign has targeted image capture and editing (by various devices), also hitting cable boxes, cloud-based conferencing, and flexible OLED displays along the way.
Cedar Lane Technologies was formed in British Columbia on April 29, 2019 with attorney Greg Benoit as director. The address listed in its complaints and corporate filings corresponds to Pigott & Co., an IP licensing firm. Benoit signed as the "authorized person" for Steephill Technologies LLC, a Delaware entity through which the asserted patents passed from IV to Cedar Lane. He is also the former CEO of monetization firm Patent Armory. Cedar Lane has disclosed in court that it has no parent company and that no publicly held corporation owns ten percent or more of its stock. As noted, this campaign has been litigated across multiple venues, including the Central District of California, where Cedar Lane has disclosed that no nonparty has a pecuniary interest in the outcome of the litigation.
In these new complaints, Cedar Lane asserts patents generally related to creating, managing, and storing playlists (6,502,194; 6,526,411; 6,721,489); to managing a list of owned or unowned inventory through a user interface (7,173,177; 7,642,443); to wirelessly controlling a device with another device in real time (8,165,867); and to a web application that supports streaming media playback and playlists (6,452,609; 7,610,394). Infringement allegations focus on media casting, playlist management, and remote control features of the new defendants' various streaming services. Background concerning the other patents asserted in this campaign can be found here.
The oldest open case in this campaign, filed against Acer in December 2019, is actually stayed pending dismissal in light of a settlement. A February 2020 case against Blackmagic Design, filed in the Northern District of California, has run into some trouble for Cedar Lane. On October 1, District Judge Vince Chhabria granted the defendant's motion to strike a third amended complaint and the defendant's motion to dismiss the induced and contributory infringement claims within Cedar Lane's second amended complaint. "Within 14 days of this order, Cedar Lane Technologies is ordered", by Judge Chhabria, "to show cause as to why this case should not be dismissed for failure to prosecute, and why counsel for Cedar Lane should not be sanctioned for their repeated failure to comply with Rule 15 and their misrepresentations regarding the language of Rule 15 in their submissions to the Court". A hearing on the order to show cause (via Zoom) is set for November 12, 2020, but the case may be closed by then. Last week, the parties filed a stipulation of dismissal with prejudice.
The rest of Cedar Lane's open cases have yet to progress much beyond pleadings. Huawei has answered the Eastern District of Texas complaint filed against it, while Southern District of New York suits against Aspiro, B&H Foto Electronics, and Sirius have proceeded slowly (with a motion for dismissal without prejudice of the B&H Foto case having been filed but not granted). Cedar Lane's suit against LG Electronics is stayed pending dismissal, while its open cases against Arrow Electronics, TCL Communication, and WPG Americas remain in the pleadings stage. October 2020 has seen signed dismissals in litigation against AU Optronics, Comcast, and Skylum Software.
Cedar Lane has yet to take any of its cases much beyond pleadings, but it does appear ready to assert additional patents, perhaps in similar fashion. In April 2020, as reported here, Cedar Lane augmented its 2019 portfolio pickup from IV with yet another set of assets from the same source. 10/9, Deezer, District of Colorado, LiveXLive Media, District of Delaware, ViacomCBS, Northern District of Illinois; 10/13, DISH, Disney, Western District of Texas.
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