Apple (6:21-cv-00984) and Alphabet (Google) (6:21-cv-00985) are the latest defendants to be added to Jawbone Innovations, LLC's sole litigation campaign, launched in February 2021 with a suit against Samsung. The plaintiff asserts eight patents, each originating with Aliph (d/b/a Jawbone) and broadly directed to various aspects of microphone technology. The defendants are accused of infringement through the provision of a wide variety of devices (e.g., earphones, headphones, notebooks, smartphones, smart home devices, tablets, and wearables), with features related to microphone arrays, noise-cancelling, and voice detection at issue. In its new complaints, Jawbone Innovations asserts six additional patents for the first time.
The patents-in-suit (7,246,058; 8,019,091; 8,280,072; 8,321,213; 8,326,611; 8,467,543; 10,779,080; 11,122,357) are each newly asserted in litigation, except for the '091 and '072 patents (which are in suit against Samsung). The patents belong to a family of 30 with grant dates ranging from July 2007 through September 2021 and an earliest estimated priority in July 2000. As noted above, the original development work for the patents was conducted at Aliph, a wearable technologies manufacturer that was liquidated in 2017. Jawbone Innovations acquired the patents in a portfolio of 75 from JI Audio Holdings LLC—a Texas entity formed on May 7, 2021 with JAWB Acquisition LLC (formed in July 2017 in New Jersey) identified as its manager—in a May 2021 assignment.
Hosain Rahman formed Aliph in the late '90s with Alexander Asseily. The assets of the company, which had received funding secured by its intellectual property from various entities (including DBD Credit Funding LLC, a Fortress Investment Group LLC entity; Wells Fargo; Silver Lake Waterman; and BlackRock Advisors, in that order), were liquidated in 2017, at which time two assignments were recorded with the USPTO from an Aliph subsidiary to JAWB Acquisition (misidentified in USPTO records as "Jawab Acquisation, LLC"), on behalf of which Daniel Setton signed as manager.
Setton appears to be a manager of Lionel Capital, which describes itself on its public website as "an investment firm focused on branded consumer product companies from early stage investments, growth rounds to distressed assets in need of a turn around". Listed among its current and past investments is "Aliph Brands", described as a brand management company; on its public website, Aliph Brands gives a description very similar to that of Lionel Capital ("We target early-stage, growth, and distressed assets in need of a turnaround to build valuable brands", listing Jawbone as one of its brands).
Jawbone Innovations itself was formed in Texas on February 1, 2021 with York Eggleston as its manager. Together with Keith Machen, the pair have been identified as managing members for a growing web of assertion entities, including Gravel Rating Systems LLC, Quartz Auto Technologies, LLC, Slingshot Printing LLC, Slingshot Technologies LLC, and Stone Interactive Ventures LLC. For additional background on Eggleston and Machen, as well as their controlled entities, see "New Texas NPE Sues Samsung over Former Jawbone Patents" (May 2021).
As noted above, Jawbone Innovations launched its sole litigation campaign in February 2021 with a suit against Samsung in the Eastern District of Texas. To date, the defendant has yet to answer or otherwise respond to its complaint. The suits against Apple and Alphabet, both filed in the Western District of Texas, have been assigned to District Judge Alan D. Albright. 9/23, Western District of Texas.
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