Each of the Western District of Texas cases filed by Foothills IP LLC earlier this year was over by mid-August; the plaintiff has now hit two more defendants in the same district: Cloud Imperium Games ( 6:22-cv-01081) and Embracer Group (Gunfire Games) ( 6:22-cv-01082). Only one of the two patents-in-campaign is asserted in these new complaints, with Foothills IP again targeting computers allegedly outfitted with certain CPUs and NVIDIA GPUs, as used by the defendants “for commercial purposes, such as developing software such as gaming software”. Foothills IP received a much larger portfolio of former Intellectual Ventures LLC (IV) assets, of which the two patents so far asserted are but a part, from Hanger Solutions, LLC in May 2020.
The patent asserted in these two new complaints (6,057,862) is broadly directed to computer memory architecture and is apparently expired. It was also in suit, together with a second patent (5,815,456), also expired, in those five earlier complaints, one filed against each of Aaron’s, Buddy’s Home Furnishings, Rubrik, and Tanium in the Western District of Texas and against Rent-A-Center in the Eastern District of Texas. Little happened in those suits before dismissals ended them within weeks of filing. For further background concerning Foothills IP’s asserted patents, see “New Colorado NPE Asserts Expired Memory and Display Patents” (May 2021).
Foothills IP was formed in Colorado on April 27, 2020 with Francis P. Knuettel II—a former CFO with publicly traded NPE Marathon Patent Group, Inc.—as the new plaintiff’s managing member. On social media, Knuettel holds himself out as having served as CFO with One Cannabis Group, a cannabis operator and franchisor, since June 2019 and as “restructuring advisory” with Viridian Capital Advisors (a financial firm dedicated to cannabis and hemp markets) since May 2020. Knuettel previously served as CFO with Marathon Patent Group from May 2014 to April 2018 and CFO with IP Commerce from July 2007 to April 2013, among other past positions.
Hanger Solutions is an NPE associated with Georgia monetization firm IPInvestments Group LLC (d/b/a IPinvestments Group). It became the biggest recipient of patent assets from IV a couple of years ago, some of which have since begun to spread to other entities and to appear in district court complaints.
The new Western District of Texas cases have been initially assigned to Judge Xavier Rodriguez. Foothills IP identified only litigation counsel, Ramey LLP, as a nonparty having an interest in the outcome of the litigation. 10/14, Western District of Texas.