Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sprint Nextel, Steelhead Settle Suit over Wireless Patent

Case Filed: Jan 04, 2013

Case Closed: Feb 05, 2014

Court: Delaware District Court

Judge: Leonard P. Stark

Case Summary:
Steelhead Licensing, a non-practicing entity filed a pile of lawsuits in the Delaware District Court against various wireless device manufacturers and wireless network operators including Sprint Nextel. Other defendants in the suits include Apple, RIM and Motorola, HTC, LG Electronics, Kyocera, NEC Casio Mobile, Pantech, Sony and ZTE, and wireless network operators AT&T, MetroPCS, Verizon Wireless and Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile USA).

Each of the companies is accused of infringing a single, expired patent US5491834, entitled “Mobile Radio Handover Initiation Determination.” The patent originally assigned to British Telecom issued on Feb 13, 1996 and expired[1] on Feb 13, 2013. The patent was last assigned[2] to Steelhead Licensing (source: MaxVal’s Assignment Database).  In its court filings, Steelhead stated that they are the owner of the patent and have the exclusive right to recover for past infringement.

Steelhead’s complaint asserted infringement based on devices that are compatible with 3G Code-Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) standards and practiced a method that determines the manner in which communications are handed over from one cell to another in a cellular communications network as covered in the ‘834 patent. The allegedly infringing product includes ZTE Flash which performs the process recited in the ‘834 patent. Steelhead demanded a jury trial, asking for damages sufficient to compensate for infringement.

The case is now concluded as the parties filed stipulation of dismissal. Considering the stipulation, the Court ordered that all claims asserted in this action be dismissed with prejudice, with each party to bear its own costs, expenses, and attorneys’ fees.

See 1:13-cv-00043 for more details. To get alerts on cases filed/closed, subscribe to our Litigation Alerts.

Max-Insight enables you to access all of our patent tools such as patent term Estimator, Patent Family Tree, Has This Patent Been Litigated, etc. in one location. Max-Insight is available in 4 different subscriptions: Free, Bronze, Silver and Gold with varying usage levels. To learn more about the Max-Insight, click here.

[1] Expected expiration date. Patent Term Estimator is a free web-based tool that automatically calculates patent terms and expiration dates for U.S. utility patents

[2] MaxVal offers Patent Assignment Alert service where subscribers receive email alerts when assignments relating to target applications, patents or entities of interest are recorded

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