Far North Patents Hits IBM, Others with VoIP Patent Simultaneous Suits

On December 26, Far North Patents filed eight different lawsuits for patent infringement of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), wireless services, and communications technologies. The companies being sued are the prominent tech companies IBM, Texas Instruments, and Broadcom, amongst others (Far North Patents, LLC v. International Business Machines Corporation 4:19-cv-00940) (Far North Patents, LLC v. Texas Instruments, Inc. 4:19-cv-00946) (Far North Patents, LLC v. Broadcom Pte. Ltd. et al 4:19-cv-00939) (Far North Patents, LLC v. NXP Semiconductors N.V. et al 4:19-cv-00944) (Far North Patents, LLC v. NEC Corporation 4:19-cv-00943) (Far North Patents, LLC v. Mitel Networks Corporation et al 4:19-cv-00942) (Far North Patents, LLC v. Marvell International, Ltd. et al 4:19-cv-00941) (Far North Patents, LLC v. Ribbon Communications Inc. et al 4:19-cv-00945). All eight complaints have been assigned to District Judge Sean D. Jordan of the Texas Eastern District Court.

The patents in question for all the cases were developed at Path1 Network Technologies Inc, MCI WorldCom, Robelight LLC, and BellSouth Corporation. The complaint claims that all these companies were once their own significant entities in the communications industry but are now mostly owned by other companies. There are ten patents in total across the eight cases, but each appears in at least three cases. The patents are all implemented on computer networks, cellular devices, and other technology aimed at personal communications.

The patents developed at Path1 Network Technologies are related to service quality for time-sensitive signals in computer networks. There are three of them, all entitled “Methods and Apparatus for Providing Quality-of-Service Guarantees in Computer Networks.”

The patents developed at WorldCom are for evaluating service quality in telecommunications. They are entitled “Real-Time Monitoring of Perceived Quality of Packet Voice Transmission,” Determining the Effects of New Types of Impairments on Perceived Quality of a Voice Service,” and “Method and System for Evaluating the Quality of Packet-Switched Voice Signals.”

Two patents entitled “Method and Apparatus for Obtaining Telephone Status Over a Network” were developed by Robelight to deal with obtaining a network participant’s availability.

The patents invented at BellSouth were developed for providing caller ID technology to mobile phones. The two patents are both entitled “Methods and Systems for Implementation of the Calling Name Delivery Service Through Use of a Location Register in a Network Element in a Wireless Network.”

The plaintiff claims that these patents have been referenced hundreds of times in patent prosecutions by prominent companies like Google or AT&T, and for some of the patents it mentions previous litigation involving Broadcom, IBM, and Texas Instruments; some of the companies being sued. The plaintiff uses these other cases to explain that these companies should have been aware of the patents in the complaints. The complaints do not explain how Far North Patents came to be the holder of all these patents. In search results, Far North Patent’s name comes up primarily in relation to other patent litigation cases.

Far North Patents is being represented by Antonelli, Harrington & Thompson in all eight cases. They are asking the court to find that the defendants have infringed on Far North’s patents and issue a permanent injunction to prevent further infringements or an award of royalties for future infringements. They are also seeking monetary awards in the manner of attorney’s costs and fees for all cases, payment for damages to Far North and cost incurred by Far North due to infringement of the patents by the defendants, and pre- and post-judgment interest for such damages.