On the heels of a recent trial victory, the Solas OLED Limited dispute with Samsung continues to grow. So far in 2021, the Irish NPE has filed another three suits against the tech giant, a first, against Samsung Display (6:21-cv-00185) over AMOLED panel displays that are incorporated into certain Apple products; a second, also against Samsung Display (2:21-cv-00104) over AMOLED panel displays that are incorporated into certain Apple, Dell, HP, Google, and Samsung-branded devices; and a third, against subsidiary Samsung Electronics (2:21-cv-00105) over the incorporation of touch controller chips in certain Samsung laptop computers and Galaxy smartphones and tablets.
The new cases join a September 2020 district court case against Samsung, stayed before District Judge Rodney Gilstrap to await the outcome of an action before the International Trade Commission (ITC) in which Samsung is a respondent. In the first case that Solas OLED filed against Samsung, in May 2019, a jury just returned a multimillion dollar verdict for the plaintiff. Judge Gilstrap presided over that trial, which saw infringement claims related to three patents submitted to the jury: two originating with Casio (6,072,450; 7,446,338) and one, with Atmel (9,256,311).
The jury found that Samsung infringed a single claim from each of the '338 and '311 patents, respectively awarding $27.3M and $35.4M in damages as to those patents. The jury further found that the company's infringement of the '311 patent had been willful. However, the jury also determined that the asserted claims from the '450 patent (claims 4 and 5) are invalid, precluding an infringement finding. To dig further into that Eastern District of Texas result, see "Texas Jury Returns $62.7M Infringement Verdict in Solas OLED Trial Against Samsung" (March 2021).
The -185 case was filed in the Western District of Texas (and is assigned to District Judge Alan D. Albright), rather than the Eastern. Only the '450 patent is asserted in that complaint, which focuses on claim 1. In the -104 suit, Samsung Display is accused of infringing four patents (the '450 patent, as well as the 7,446,338; 7,499,042; and 7,663,615 patents), originating with Casio and generally related to various aspects of display panels (with infringement allegations as to the '450 patent again highlighting claim 1), while in the -105 case, Samsung Electronics is accused of infringing two patents (8,526,767; 9,292,144) that are new to litigation, both originating with Atmel and generally related to devices with touch sensors. The -105 case technically launches a separate campaign for Solas OLED.
An investigation has been instituted in response to Solas OLED's ITC complaint, in which three additional patents (7,573,068; 7,868,880; 8,139,007) are asserted and in which BOE, LG Display, Samsung, and Sony are named as original respondents. The concurrent district court case against Samsung, stayed before Judge Gilstrap, concerns the '068 and '088 patents.
Solas OLED is backed by Magnetar Capital. Its managers have ties to several other Irish NPEs that also enjoy such backing, including some already litigating former operating company patents: Arigna Technology Limited (asserting a former Mitsubishi patent), Data Scape Limited (litigating patents originating with Sony), Neodrón Limited (asserting patents received from Microchip or subsidiary Atmel) and Sonraí Memory Limited (litigating patents originating with HP Enterprise). The future appears to hold more litigation from this group of Irish NPEs, as sister NPE Scramoge Technology Limited received over 120 US patent assets from LG Innotek last month.
For a closer look at these NPEs' corporate ties, and the campaigns and patents-in-suit for those already asserting their assets, start with "More Hedge Fund-Backed Irish NPEs Launch US Litigation" (February 2021). 2/21, Western District of Texas; 3/22, Eastern District of Texas.
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