Isix IP LLC, identifying itself as a subsidiary of monetization firm Aequitas Technologies LLC, has filed suit against IBM ( 6:22-cv-00201), alleging infringing of a single patent that the plaintiff characterizes as claiming “a system for integrating date among heterogenous systems”. Isix IP pleads that Isix (f/k/a DARC), “a predecessor in interest” of the patent licensed its software to “companies in various industries”, with “deepest market penetration . . . in the cruise line industry”. The new Western District of Texas complaint targets the IBM Application Integration Suite, which Isix IP alleges “destroyed Isix’s market share”.

The patent (6,308,178) issued to DARC in October 2001 with estimated priority in October 1999. Now expired, the patent lists multiple named inventors, including Brian Connolly, who identifies himself on social media as having held positions with DARC since leaving Oracle in 1992, most recently (since 2003) as president. In December 2017, Isix assigned the ‘178 patent to Aequitas Technologies, which was formed in California on December 17, 2015 with Dooyong Lee as its sole managing member.

On social media, Lee describes himself as having served as the founder and CEO of Aequitas since 2013 and CEO of Acacia Research Group LLC from 2005 to 2012, as well as an executive with several patent licensing and/or consulting companies prior to that. (According to SEC filings, Lee served as an executive vice president at Acacia until his resignation in 2012.)

Also on social media, Lee describes Aequitas as a “contingency patent licensing company” that is “managing over 20 licensing/litigation campaigns”, with the firm’s website holding Lee out as having “pioneered the patent monetization industry for inventors” and “generating well in excess of $2B from 1,000+ licensees on behalf of ~200 clients”. The site provides a partial list of those purported licensees, IBM among them.

The only other campaign of Aequitas Technologies known to be in active litigation was filed in June 2020 against Apple and Samsung over a somewhat notorious patent developed by Neonode, Inc. (NEON). To date, since both suits have been stayed pending resolution of multiple inter partes reviews, that campaign is perhaps most notable for Apple’s hard-fought transfer from the Western District of Texas to the Northern District of California. For background concerning that campaign, see “Neonode Smartphone Takes a Swipe at Apple and Samsung” (June 2020).

Isix IP was formed in Texas in July 2020, with Lee identified as its manager. The plaintiff discloses Aequitas Technologies as its parent entity. Currently available USPTO records do not reflect movement of the ‘178 patent away from Aequitas Technologies; Isix IP pleads ownership of the patent, as well as alleging infringement notice given to IBM in 2020. 2/25, Western District of Texas