Welcome to the first installment of "NPE Showcase," where we discuss high-volume non-practicing entities (or as some call them, "patent trolls"). This installment will focus on a company named Cedar Lane Technologies and their recent patent enforcement efforts.
Cedar Lane is one of the more prolific NPEs in the patent enforcement market. A Canadian company, Cedar Lane incorporated in 2019 and proceeded to sue hundreds of defendants for infringement of various patents. Their recent enforcement efforts have resulted in sixteen cases filed during the week of September 12 alone, all within the Western District of Texas, and all by Isaac Rabicoff of Rabicoff Law. Cedar Lane primarily asserts patents that were originally owned by Intellectual Ventures entities.
Cedar Lane is able to file a large number of cases in part because of the variety of different technologies addressed by their patents. One cluster of their patent portfolio relates to image processing methods, while others relate to remote controls, and still others relate to standard compression techniques. They have indeed cast a wide net with patent claims that are vague enough to assert against a variety of accused instrumentalities. According to Cedar Lane, your company infringes if you operate an electrical device with a phone, or if you overlay images to create a panoramic picture, or if you use the JPEG compression technique.
It hasn't always been roses for Cedar Lane. NPE opponents will cheer a 2020 decision by Judge Vince Chhabria of the Northern District of California against both Cedar Lane and Mr. Rabicoff. There, the Court sanctioned Cedar Lane and its attorney for "taking positions in his filings that were objectively frivolous ... and did so in bad faith." If that wasn't harsh enough, the Court noted Mr. Rabicoff "is a serial filer of patent lawsuits in the Northern District of California [but] is not admitted to practice in this district" and "made misleading statements about the procedural history of the case." Mr. Rabicoff was then ordered to the Northern District of California's Standing Committee on Professional Conduct for further investigation. Read more about that decision here.
There is some good news for patent defendants. Cedar Lane does not appear to take their cases much past the pleadings stage and seems to have little appetite for protracted litigation. None of their cases have reached the trial stage. Instead, the litigation campaign appears to be conventional patent-based nuisance litigation designed to generate a large quantity of modest settlements that, in the end, add up for the plaintiff.
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