Greenthread Asserts Rao Patents Against Dell And Intel In Single West Texas Complaint - Intellectual Property - United States

Greenthread Asserts Rao Patents Against Dell And Intel In Single West Texas Complaint - Intellectual Property - United States

Texas plaintiff Greenthread, LLC has suedDell and Intel (6:22-cv-00105) in a single suit, targeting theprovision of Intel's 10th, 11th, and12thgeneration of semiconductors (Comet Lake, TigerLake, and Alder Lake-series devices), alleged to be incorporated invarious Dell laptops (Inspiron, New Inspiron, XPS, New XPS, G15,and Alienware-series products). Greenthread asserts fivesemiconductor fabrication patents, received from sole namedinventor G.R. Mohan Rao, one of the plaintiff's directors.Texas records indicate that this campaign is backed by a funderrelatively new to patent monetization.

Greenthread was formed in Texas in October 2004, listing Rao andPhilip W. John Jr., of uncertain current professional activities(apart from his position with the plaintiff), as directors. Onsocial media, Rao identifies himself simply as the founder ofGreenthread. According to Texas records, John and Rao organizedGreenthread together, with exact designations shifting over theyears.

Generally related to CMOS semiconductor devices with"graded dopant regions", the asserted patents (8,421,195; 9,190,502; 10,510,842; 10,734,481; 11,121,222) belong to a seven-member familywith grant dates ranging from January 2012 through September 2021,all with earliest estimated priority date in September 2021.Currently available assignment records indicate that Raotransferred Greenthread an application generally related to NANDflash memory in 2011 and a separate family of non-volatile memorypatents in 2012, before moving this family over to Greenthread in2015. Prosecution of at least one application in Greenthread'sasserted family continues before the USPTO.

Greenthread Asserts Rao Patents Against Dell And Intel In Single West Texas Complaint - Intellectual Property - United States

Greenthread began this campaign in April 2019 with an EasternDistrict of Texas lawsuit asserting four patents (the 8,106,481; '195; '502; and 9,647,070 patents) from this family againstSamsung. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap handeddown an April 2020 claim construction order, a few months beforeGreenthread dropped its assertion of the '070 patent from thecase. The parties engaged in a long tussle over the sufficiency ofSamsung's license production but by July 2020 the case wasdismissed with prejudice in light of a resolution of theirdisputes, which included five petitions for inter partesreview of the patents-in-suit (two challenging the '070 patentand one challenging each of the other three), which the PTABterminated in July 2020 in light of settlement.

John is identified as the manager of Vervain, LLC, another Texas entity (formedthere in August 2019) that has asserted Rao patents—actuallyreceived from Greenthread—in litigation. Last May, Vervainsued Micron Technology (6:21-cv-00487) and WesternDigital (6:21-cv-00488) in separate Western District ofTexas cases, each asserting four Rao patents (8,891,298; 9,196,385; 9,997,240; 10,950,300) broadly directed to data storagesystems. In its complaints, the plaintiff alleges that they claim a"specific implementation of a solution to a problem in thedesign and fabrication of flash memories". Targeted there isthe incorporation of flash translation layers (FTLs) within solidstate drives (SSDs) containing "MLC NAND flashtechnology" (Micron) or "TLC (triple level cell) flashtechnology" (Western Digital). Just last week District JudgeAlan D. Albright issued a claim construction order in those cases,adhering (as he usually does) to the plain and ordinary meanings ofthe disputed terms.

More than two dozen other Rao patents have also beenlitigated—by Intellectual Ventures LLC (see here), by an IPValuation Partners LLC (d/b/a IPVal)affiliate (see here), by a former IPVal affiliate nowassociated with Endpoint IP LLC (see here), and by an NPE controlled by attorney Brian Yates before focusing his monetizationefforts on China (see here). That Yates entity passed patents alongto yet another NPE Flash-Control, LLC, which asserted them against Intel in mid-2019.

Greenthread granted a security interest in its asserted patentsto Empyrean's Patent Capital Funding 2018 – Series 1A,LLC and EC Holdings Series LLC – Series B in January 2019.Empyrean Capital Partners, LP is a multi-billiondollar investment manager that reports advising "institutionalinvestors, pension funds, endowments and foundations, and high-networth persons". It was founded in 2004 by Amos Meron andMichael Price, both former partners at Goldman Sachs. The firm,which is headquartered in Los Angeles and also has an office in NewYork City, reports having eight clients and discretionary assetsunder management of $5.8B. (C. Martin Meekins, EmpyreanCapital's COO and general counsel, signed for the two entitiesholding the security interests, on documents filed with the USPTO.)In 2019, Empyrean appeared relatively new to backinglitigation—for details concerning its other activities, aswell as those of other new entrants, see "2019 Marketplace Trends: Investors in Recent NPELitigation Include Less Familiar Faces" (November2019).

The new case against Dell and Intel has also been assigned toJudge Albright. 1/27, Western District of Texas.

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