United States: Fundamental Innovation's USB Charging Campaign Proceeds In Europe

Last Updated: April 4 2018
Article by RPX Corporation

In December 2016, Fundamental Innovation Systems International LLC (FISI) began targeting mobile device manufacturers with a series of Texas lawsuits asserting USB charging patents acquired from BlackBerry in late 2015. As FISI's litigation proceeds in the US, documents recently filed in the District Court of Mannheim now indicate that the German leg of the NPE's campaign also remains active, with hearings held earlier this month in cases against Samsung and electronics retailers Cyberport GmbH and notebooksbilliger.de AG. Other filings show that the asserted patents have been targeted in a variety of invalidity proceedings, both in Germany and before the European Patent Office (EPO).

FISI's litigation in Germany has involved two European patents (EP 1 595 324, EP 1 798 835), both of which relate to charging and power delivery for mobile devices. Filed documents indicate that FISI has brought at least one case asserting the '324 patent, filed against Samsung in the District Court of Düsseldorf (4 O 48/17). Meanwhile, the NPE has asserted the '835 patent in at least four cases filed in the District Court of Mannheim: one against Huawei (2 O 210/16), in which a hearing was held on October 17, 2017; and three against Samsung (7 O 87/17), Cyberport (7 O 84/17), and notebooksbilliger (7 O 85/17), for which hearings were held on March 9, 2018.

Both patents have also been subjected to validity challenges. The '835 patent was hit by a nullity (invalidity) action filed in Germany's Federal Patent Court (Bundespatentgericht) on April 18, 2017; available records do not specify the name of the filing party or the current status of that action. (In Germany, patent litigation is bifurcated, with infringement and invalidity claims brought in separate actions.) Meanwhile, EPO records also indicate that in July 2017, Cyberport, Samsung, and notebooksbilliger initiated oppositions against the '324 patent. (An opposition is a type of validity challenge that is roughly analogous to US post-grant review; both can be brought up to nine months after the issuance of the challenged patent. In this instance, the challenges to the '324 patent were filed at the very end of this period, as the patent issued in October 2016.) Another July 2017 opposition was filed against the '324 patent by Katrin Niederl, a Dresden, Germany-based family and inheritance law attorney. Niederl is one of two founding partners of law firm Noltemeier Niederl; she does not appear to otherwise be involved in issues related to patent law.

Among the grounds for invalidity asserted in those opposition proceedings, which seek the revocation of the '324 patent in its entirety, are lack of an inventive step, lack of enablement, lack of novelty, and extension of scope (with the challengers arguing that the claims of the final patent, as amended from the original application through the removal of certain key limitations, impermissibly extend the scope of the claims beyond the original disclosure). Filings by Cyberport and notebooksbilliger state that each company coordinated with unspecified "other opponents" of the '324 patent for their oppositions; it is not clear if those other opponents include Samsung or Niederl. European Patent Register data indicates that FISI filed a reply to one or more of the notices of opposition against the '324 patent on January 24, 2018.

FISI acquired the '835 patent and the application that would later issue as the '324 patent from BlackBerry in a November 2015 transaction that included a total of 158 patent assets, including 56 US assets and a variety of international assets, including European patents and applications as well as assets from Australia, the UK, France, and Singapore. The terms of that acquisition were not made public at the time, but filings in a subsequent lawsuit—brought against IP consulting firm Ocean Tomo, LLC and certain executives by the firm's former managing director, Michael Friedman—revealed that the assignment resulted from a multi-million dollar deal between Blackberry and Centerbridge Partners. Friedman's complaint alleges that Ocean Tomo withheld a bonus payment of over $922K, under the alleged pretext that he had violated his fiduciary duty with respect to Ocean Tomo's role in the BlackBerry-Centerbridge deal.

See RPX Insight for more information on recent developments in FISI's US litigation, including the NPE's active district court cases against Huawei, LG Electronics, Samsung, and ZTE and two 2018 waves of inter partes reviews against the patents-in-campaign.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions