Hybrid Audio, LLC v. Texas Instruments, Inc. (17-cv-12561).

Hybrid Audio is the assignee of U.S. Reissue Patent RE40,281, which claims a priority date of September 12, 1992. The patent is alleged to cover certain elements of MP3 technology.   As a result of a prior lawsuit involving other defendants, the patent was put into reexamination in 2012.  It emerged in December 2015 with all reexamined claims confirmed.  Texas Instruments was notified in January 2011 by a prior assignee, Hybrid Audio-Texas, that certain Texas Instruments products were believed to infringe the patent.  Hybrid Audio acknowledges that the patent lapsed on September 21, 2012, but states that it was constrained from filing suit or seeking damages during the pendency of the reexamination.  Hybrid Audio seeks damages for the period from the January 2011 notice letter to the expiration, all of which it asserts to be with the six-year statute of limitations on damages.  It is unclear how this could be, given that the January 2011 letter was sent nearly seven years ago, and Hybrid Audio itself seems to acknowledge that there is a statute of limitations issue – it asserts that it sent a letter in December 2016 to Texas Instruments proposing to toll by agreement the statute of limitations so that settlement could be discussed without necessitating the time and expense of actually filing suit, and that Texas Instruments never responded.

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