Plectrum claims found unpatentable; Unified is sole RPI

On November 13, 2018, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) issued a final written decision in Unified Patents Inc. v. Plectrum, LLC, IPR2017-01430 holding claims 8 and 11 of U.S. Patent 5,978,951 unpatentable. The patent is owned and asserted by Plectrum, LLC, a new NPE formed after acquiring several patents formerly owned by Hewlett Packard. In doing so, the Board rejected Plectrum’s arguments that Unified’s members are real parties-in-interest:

[U]nlike [Applications in Internet Time v. RPX (AIT)] we have no evidence tying Petitioner’s NPE-deterrent activities to any particular member interested in the outcome of this proceeding, such as a member that has been accused previously of patent infringement.

Paper 30 at 14. Given the Board’s decision in Unified Patents Inc. v. Realtime Adaptive Streaming, LLC, two panels have concluded, under different facts, that Unified members are not real parties-in-interest after the recent AIT decision clarifying RPI inquiries.

The '951 patent, directed to providing a hardware network address cache, has been asserted in 15 district court cases all of which were filed in February 2017. To read the decision and view the proceeding, visit our PTAB Portal.