RPX Corporation, which accumulates patents and licenses them to big companies such as Google Inc. and HTC Corp for defensive purposes, has lost a bid to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit challenging its business model.
In a ruling issued on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Yyonne Gonzalez Rogers in San Francisco refused to dismiss an amended complaint filed against RPX by a nonpracticing entity, or so-called patent troll, called Cascades Ventures. Gonzalez Rogers, who dismissed the case without prejudice earlier this year, ruled that Cascades came back to her with sufficient evidence of an anticompetitive conspiracy between RPX and three of its members: HTC, Samsung Electronics Co. and Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc.
The case against RPX is being driven by Anthony Brown, the former Jenner & Block attorney who helped create modern-day patent monetization. Through Cascades, Brown has been trying to wring money out of famed inventor Boris Babaian’s patent portfolio. Cascades is represented by Raymond Niro Sr. of Niro Haller & Niro, who is known for representing NPEs.
As we explained here, the case against RPX stems from the entity’s refusal to license a Cascades patent. Cascades alleges that RPX and a handful of its members conspired to jointly rebuff Cascades’ licensing offers in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. RPX’s defense lawyers at Latham & Watkins have argued that Cascades’ unusual antitrust theory makes “absolutely no sense.”
Our affiliate The Recorder has more on Tuesday’s developments here.