Jawbone’s undead corpse sues Samsung

Jawbone's patents seem to have found their way to an investor who previously sued Uber, Lyft and Groupon.

A blue Samsung logo sign

The lawsuit centers on two patents granted to Jawbone in 2011 and 2012.

Photo: Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Audio and wearables startup Jawbone is getting a second act of sorts: Jawbone Innovations, a company that appears to have recently gotten its hands on the majority of Jawbone's original IP, filed a lawsuit against Samsung in Texas last week. In its lawsuit, the company alleges that Samsung violates two of Jawbone's patents related to microphone noise reduction. Public documents suggest the involvement of a frequent filer of patent infringement lawsuits.

The lawsuit centers on two patents granted to Jawbone in 2011 and 2012. It alleges that a wide range of Samsung products, including the company's Galaxy Buds Pro earbuds as well as most of its mobile phones, are in violation of the two patents; Jawbone Innovations has asked the court for a preliminary injunction to halt the sale of these products, as well as monetary relief.

Jawbone Innovations is not to be confused with the original Jawbone, which went out of business in 2017. At that point, its assets found its way to Aliph Brands, a company that also manages the assets of brands like Quirky and drone maker Seon. Aliph is backed by Lionel Capital, a New York-based private equity company.

Filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office suggest a flurry of activity right before the lawsuit against Samsung was filed: Lionel Capital Managing Partner Daniel Setton transferred a number of Jawbone patents to a new Texas-based entity called JI Audio Holdings in mid-May. On the same day, Setton and JI Audio Holdings transferred the patents to Jawbone Innovations, which is also based in Texas.

Jawbone Innovations is managed by York Eggleston, according to Bizapedia. Eggleston's Kroy IP Holdings previously filed patent infringement lawsuits against Groupon, Safeway, Starbucks and a number of retailers for their customer loyalty programs. Eggleston reportedly also sued Uber and Lyft last year over alleged infringement of patents previously owned by IBM.

However, even with a paper trail pointing in his direction, Eggleston's role in the proceedings is still uncertain. Patent infringement lawsuits frequently involve complex corporate and financial arrangements; one of Eggleston's own companies, IP Commercialization Labs, previously advertised "indirect licensing" of patent rights as one of its monetization strategies.

"The inventor/owner transfers the patents to a third party, typically an NPE [non-practicing entity, a company that doesn't make its own products and only monetizes IP rights], which will focus on and manage the monetization campaign. IPCL will manage the transfer to the third party, and will continue to manage the monetization process," the company explained on a since-defunct website. "One advantage to clients is that indirect licensing can yield upfront cash payments in addition to percentage participation in gross recoveries or ownership in the venture."

Eggleston, Setton and Samsung did not respond to requests for comment.


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His decisions on major cryptocurrency cases have quoted "The Big Lebowski," "SNL," and "Dr. Strangelove." That’s because he wants you — yes, you — to read them.

The ways Zia Faruqui (right) has weighed on cases that have come before him can give lawyers clues as to what legal frameworks will pass muster.

Photo: Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

“Cryptocurrency and related software analytics tools are ‘The wave of the future, Dude. One hundred percent electronic.’”

That’s not a quote from "The Big Lebowski" — at least, not directly. It’s a quote from a Washington, D.C., district court memorandum opinion on the role cryptocurrency analytics tools can play in government investigations. The author is Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui.

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Veronica Irwin

Veronica Irwin (@vronirwin) is a San Francisco-based reporter at Protocol covering fintech. Previously she was at the San Francisco Examiner, covering tech from a hyper-local angle. Before that, her byline was featured in SF Weekly, The Nation, Techworker, Ms. Magazine and The Frisc.

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The Financial Technology Association (FTA) represents industry leaders shaping the future of finance. We champion the power of technology-centered financial services and advocate for the modernization of financial regulation to support inclusion and responsible innovation.

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Photo: Noah Berger/Getty Images for Amazon Web Services

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Donna Goodison

Donna Goodison (@dgoodison) is Protocol's senior reporter focusing on enterprise infrastructure technology, from the 'Big 3' cloud computing providers to data centers. She previously covered the public cloud at CRN after 15 years as a business reporter for the Boston Herald. Based in Massachusetts, she also has worked as a Boston Globe freelancer, business reporter at the Boston Business Journal and real estate reporter at Banker & Tradesman after toiling at weekly newspapers.

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We launched Protocol in February 2020 to cover the evolving power center of tech. It is with deep sadness that just under three years later, we are winding down the publication.

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Bennett Richardson

Bennett Richardson ( @bennettrich) is the president of Protocol. Prior to joining Protocol in 2019, Bennett was executive director of global strategic partnerships at POLITICO, where he led strategic growth efforts including POLITICO's European expansion in Brussels and POLITICO's creative agency POLITICO Focus during his six years with the company. Prior to POLITICO, Bennett was co-founder and CMO of Hinge, the mobile dating company recently acquired by Match Group. Bennett began his career in digital and social brand marketing working with major brands across tech, energy, and health care at leading marketing and communications agencies including Edelman and GMMB. Bennett is originally from Portland, Maine, and received his bachelor's degree from Colgate University.


Why large enterprises struggle to find suitable platforms for MLops

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As companies expand their use of AI beyond running just a few machine learning models, ML practitioners say that they have yet to find what they need from prepackaged MLops systems.

Photo: artpartner-images via Getty Images

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Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye is an award-winning multimedia reporter digging deep and telling print, digital and audio stories. She covers AI and data for Protocol. Her reporting on AI and tech ethics issues has been published in OneZero, Fast Company, MIT Technology Review, CityLab, Ad Age and Digiday and heard on NPR. Kate is the creator of RedTailMedia.org and is the author of "Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media," a book about how the 2008 presidential campaigns used digital media and data.

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