Monument Peak Ventures, LLC (MPV) has filed its first US lawsuits over patents acquired from Intellectual Ventures LLC (IV) as part of the former Kodak portfolio transferred to the Dominion Harbor Enterprises, LLC (DHE) affiliate in February 2017. The new complaints accuse Victor Hasselblad of infringing four of those patents and GoPro and SZ DJI Technology of infringing different sets of five, with two patents asserted across all three suits. The patents generally relate to various aspects of photography, with the post-processing software of GoPro (GoPro Studio Software), Hasselblad (Phocus) and SZ DJI (CineLight), as well as certain GoPro cameras and certain features of SZ DJI’s drone products, accused of infringement. In May 2017, MPV issued a press release announcing a licensing partnership with Swedish IP brokerage and consulting firm Parallel North IP AB as part of a “comprehensive global plan to commercialize” the Kodak portfolio.
The four patents asserted against Hasselblad (6,760,485; 6,781,713; 7,032,182; 9,082,046) stem from four different families, with estimated priority dates ranging from May 1999 to December 2001. Each generally relates to the use of information in imaging processing, with Hasselblad accused of infringement through provision of its CineLight software. GoPro is accused of infringing the ‘485 and ‘713 patents through provision of its Studio Software post-processing product; and SZ DJI, through provision of Phocus.
SZ DJI is accused of infringing three other patents (6,282,317; 8,675,112; 8,750,674), broadly concerning the identification of the “main subjects” of an image, location guidance of an image-capturing device, and remote control of such a device, respectively. Camera drones with Active Tracking technology (the ‘317 patent), drone cameras (e.g., Inspire 2) with the CrystalSky Monitor running the DJI GO 4 application (the ‘112 patent), and the CrystalSky monitor and compatible drones with imaging units (e.g., Phantom 3 Professional) (the ‘674 patent) are the accused products.
GoPro is also accused of infringing the ‘317 patent, through provision of its Quik-GoPro Video Editor. MPV further asserts two additional patents (5,923,908; 6,101,338) against GoPro. The ‘908 patent (comprising a family of one and issuing in July 1999 with an estimated priority date in October 1997) generally relates to cameras having a touch control, with the NPE identifying such cameras sold by GoPro, including the Hero6 Black camera, as accused products. The ‘338 patent (comprising a family of one and issuing in August 2000 with an estimated priority date in October 1998) generally concerns cameras having voice controls, with GoPro’s alleged infringement through provision of the Hero5 Black camera addressed in detail in MPV’s complaint.
The past two years have seen multiple Dominion affiliates litigate patents received from IV, and the firm continues to accelerate its acquisition of additional patents from the NPE. On March 5, Dominion announced that it has acquired from IV a portfolio of nearly 1,000 patent assets developed by American Express. According to Dominion, after a “brief ramp-up”, its Liberty Peak Ventures LLC subsidiary will begin marketing the American Express portfolio “to the world’s largest financial, retail and eCommerce institutions, as well as smaller enterprises, through a series of channels unique to the IP monetization sector”.
As reported by RPX in early February, Liberty Peak Ventures was formed in Texas in January, along with three additional, new Dominion affiliates: Vista Peak Ventures LLC (apparently created to monetize a portfolio of over 1,200 LCD patents received from NEC in mid-February); Principle Packaging LLC (which kicked off a campaign in late February, asserting a former Del Monte patent); and Sovereign Peak Ventures, LLC (the purpose of which remains to be seen).
The first Dominion entity was formed by IP Navigation Group, LLC (d/b/a IPNav) cofounder and former CEO David Pridham and was incorporated in Texas in October 2013 as “Dominion Harbor Group, LLC”. Around March 2017, DHG appears to have shifted its operations to DHE, which was formed in Texas in January 2016 with Pridham as its managing member. Meanwhile, Monument Peak Ventures was incorporated in Texas in December 2016 by Dominion’s litigating affiliate Monument Patent Holdings, LLC. Certificates of interested parties filed concurrently with Monument Peak’s complaints identify only parent Monument Patent Holdings.