Samsung sued by Stingray over alleged Smart Home Patent infringement
A Patent infringement suit has been filed against Samsung in the District Court of Texas on 29 January 2021. The case has been filed by Stingray IP Solutions contending its eight patents being infringed by Samsung.
The plaintiff claimed that Samsung has infringed eight IoT-related patents that have been registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Stingray contended that the patent in question was related to multi-channel mobile ad-hoc network and pointed Samsung's IoT repeater SmartThings Hub, SmartThings Monitoring Kit, SmartThings Water Leak Sensor, and SmartThings Motion Sensor.
The eight patents were transferred to Stingray in 2020 from a local telecommunication company Harris, which hold the patent from early 2000. Therefore, the plaintiff contended all the eight patents being infringed by Samsung.
Samsung, the South Korean giant, provides various technological products such as TV, mobile, washing machine, and refrigerators. Samsung acquired the SmartThings, a company specializing in smart homes, in 2014 and launched it as a home IoT technology platform, in 2015. This platform is loaded into Smart phones, TVs, and other appliances being sold by Samsung in the US. Previously, Richman Technology also alleged infringement by Samsung for a patent related to SmartThings. The lawsuit was filed in 2020 which was later dropped after four months, settling the case out of Court.
As per some experts, Stingray is believed to be a patent troll. When a non-practicing entity shows a meritless patent claim for a few settlement amounts, this is generally considered to be a patent troll. The patents being contended by Stingray were transferred from Harris Corporation and the patent assertion company Acacia was a subsequent assignee of those patents before they were assigned to Stingray. Large companies do sell their patents to third parties. In this particular case, it needs to be analyzed whether the patents being asserted against Samsung in the litigation are valid, or if they have claims that are directed to anything of commercial value or not.
The case is brought in the District Court of Texas, where Samsung has its major operation. Also, it needs to be looked based on the specific facts of the case, whether it is properly brought in Texas or not.