Posts Tagged ‘Patent Infringement’

Akin Gump Owes SAS $426K In Fraud Suit

February 19th, 2015 Alexander No comments

A federal judge recently slapped Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP with a $426,045 judgment in a suit filed by SAS Institute Inc., which alleged that the firm filed a patent infringement suit against the company after years of advising it, stating that the law firm’s actions constitute fraud.

U.S. District Judge Malcolm J. Howard ordered Akin Gump to pay over $212,258 in damages, which he then doubled, for committing constructive fraud against its former client, and also ordered the firm to pay SAS an additional $1,519.40 for damages stemming from a breached contract. The firm provided legal advice to SAS before another client JuxtaComm-Texas Software LLC filed a patent infringement suit against SAS.

Akin Gump harmed SAS when it entered into a retention agreement with JuxtaComm in 2007 without having disclosed to SAS a provision that it would receive 20 percent of all values received from the patent litigation or obtaining SAS’s informed consent.

“SAS suffered continuing proximate harm from the breach of fiduciary duties insofar as it was foreclosed from making an informed decision regarding its continued retention of Akin Gump, its consent or refusal thereof of Akin Gump’s acquisition of an adverse pecuniary interest and other matters related to the representation,” the judge wrote.

Former Akin Gump partner Michael Kiklis represented SAS in a cross-licensing deal with IBM Corp. beginning in April 2007. During that time, Kiklis allegedly discussed SAS’ strategy for defending against patent infringement suits with the company’s general counsel.

At the same time, Kiklis allegedly was also representing JuxtaComm when he filed a patent infringement suit on its behalf.

However, when the IBM deal concluded in 2009, Kiklis asked SAS to terminate his attorney-client relationship with the company, which agreed, the suit claimed. The same day, Kiklis allegedly dismissed the JuxtaComm suit.

Akin Gump acquired confidential information about SAS and could use that information in the suit against it. Because the firm planned to sue SAS while the company was still a client, Akin Gump and Kiklis breached their fiduciary duties, according to SAS’ suit.

Akin Gump previously tried to have the breach of contract and fraud suit dismissed, alleging that there wasn’t a valid contract between SAS and the firm when the alleged breach occurred. The firm argued that the alleged breach occurred when SAS was sued, and the attorney-client relationship was terminated before that time.

But Judge Howard rejected that argument, ruling that the alleged breach happened well before the suit was filed, and that the firm didn’t inform SAS of an actual or potential conflict of interest.

For more information, see Law360.

Categories: Uncategorized

BlackBerry Wins $860K Sanction For Sales Of Keyboard

February 10th, 2015 Alexander No comments

U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick found Typo Products LLC in contempt of a preliminary injunction enjoining the company from selling a wraparound iPhone keyboard accused of infringing BlackBerry Ltd.’s patented keyboard and imposed a hefty sanction of $860,600 plus attorneys’ fees and costs.

Judge Orrick found that Typo had sold more than 18,000 products in violation of the injunction, but nevertheless imposed a sanction that fell well short of the $2.6 million requested by BlackBerry. The judge agreed with Typo that the damage BlackBerry suffered as a result of the sales was uncertain but said the award was nonetheless just and appropriate.

“Typo’s not-so-clever attempts to evade the court’s preliminary injunction is quite certain, and it is my obligation and intent to vindicate respect for and compliance with the court’s orders,” the order said. “The amount of sanctions awarded is only a third of what BlackBerry sought and is directly tied to additional revenue that Typo could have expected from its illegal conduct.”

Typo sold 1,908 enjoined keyboards to Chris Yergensen, a good friend of Typo’s CEO Laurence Hallier, in Las Vegas, as well as 16,829 enjoined keyboards to customers outside of the United States and 365 warranty replacements of enjoined keyboards, and referred six customers to third parties to buy the enjoined keyboard after the preliminary injunction went into effect in April 2014.

Judge Orrick also scolded Typo for shipping 6,804 enjoined keyboards to Canada on the same day as the contempt hearing, saying the company couldn’t evade the preliminary injunction by transferring enjoined products out of the country for sale.

Typo has 45 days to pay BlackBerry the $860,600.

BlackBerry, which has been struggling in the smartphone market as the iPhone and Android-based devices have become more popular, filed a lawsuit against Typo last January over its keyboard cases for later models of the iPhone.

For more information, see Law360.

Malpractice Suit in Nike Air Jordan Patent Case

January 22nd, 2015 Alexander No comments

A total of eight attorneys face a $8.1 million legal malpractice suit for allegedly mishandling a patent infringement suit against Nike Inc. over its Air Jordan shoes.

Inventor Lyons claims the expert chosen by the team of lawyers on the case ultimately doomed his suit against Nike and if it weren’t for that poor choice, he would have prevailed in his allegations that Nike infringed his 1996 patent for an “athletic shoe with compression indicators and replaceable spring cassette.”

The thrust of the patent holder’s displeasure with the representation stems from the decision to appoint Dr. Duane Priddy as an expert to testify on the alleged infringement. That testimony ultimately led to a dismissal of the case by U.S. Magistrate Judge Acosta, the complaint said.

“Dr. Priddy is not qualified nor skilled in the art with respect to athletic shoes,” counsel for Lyons said. “The court’s final analysis was that the expert was not qualified … so there wasn’t sufficient expert support for Mr. Lyons.”

Another of Lyon’s experts evaluated the damages of the alleged infringement at $8.1 million, hence the dollar figure in the legal malpractice litigation.

Judge Acosta ruled against Lyons in June 2012, granting Nike’s motion for summary judgment as to noninfringement, but denied the motion as to invalidity.

That ruling was reaffirmed in January 2013 when Judge Acosta denied Lyons’ request for reconsideration of the original ruling.

Categories: Intellectual Property

Gore Must Pay $1B In Patent Saga

January 16th, 2015 Alexander No comments

The Federal Circuit affirmed a lower court’s ruling that W. L. Gore & Associates Inc. willfully infringed C.R. Bard Inc.’s blood vessel graft patent, adding $205 million to the $854 million in damages Gore has already been ordered to pay Bard in the long-running case.

The Federal Circuit heard the case once before and used it to set a new standard for proving willfulness. U.S. District Judge Murguia held that Gore’s infringement was willful under the new standard the Federal Circuit agreed.

The court had held since a 2007 en banc decision that there is a two-prong test for establishing willfulness. First, a patentee must show that an accused infringer acted despite an objectively high likelihood that it was infringing and second, the patentee must show that this risk was known to the infringer.

Gore maintained that its infringement was not willful because it had a reasonable argument that one of its employees was a joint inventor of Bard’s patent and that the patent was invalid for failing to name him as a co-inventor.

The Federal Circuit rejected that argument, noting that prior litigation over the patent had “definitively held” that the inventor of Bard’s patent, Goldfarb, had developed the invention on his own, without assistance from Gore’s employee.

“Within the backdrop of the extensive proceedings prior to this litigation, therefore, we agree with the district court that Gore’s position was not susceptible to a reasonable conclusion that the patent was invalid on inventorship grounds,” the appeals court said.

In addition to affirming that Gore’s infringement was willful, the Federal Circuit on Tuesday rejected the argument the company raised at oral arguments in August that Bard did not have standing to bring the suit in the first place.

For more information, see Law360.

Categories: Uncategorized

Comcast Victory In Patent Suit With Sprint

October 20th, 2014 Alexander No comments

The present lawsuit, filed in February 2012, marked the latest dispute between the subsidiaries of two communications giants. Comcast accused Sprint of infringing its patents covering various methods and apparatuses for wireless voice and texting operations.

Among Comcast’s targets was Sprint’s mobile messaging service, which provides mobile email, wireless video mail and other text messaging services. The lawsuit also went after Sprint’s voice and data telephone offerings, including its Any Mobile, Anytime wireless plans.

The lawsuit, came months after Sprint Communications fired off separate complaints against Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable Inc., Cox Communications Inc. and Cable One Inc. in December 2011 over alleged infringement of patents that allow users to make phone calls over the Internet.

Sprint claimed that the companies sold phone services that violated 12 of its voice over packet patents, which facilitate the transfer of data, such as voice messages, phone calls and faxes, over packet networks such as the Internet.

In the present suit, a Delaware federal jury found that Sprint had infringed a total of six claims from three different patents. The jury did not decide in favor of Sprint on any of the assertions in the suit. The jury also decided that Sprint owes Comcast $7.5 million in damages for infringing the Comcast patents.

The decision came less than a month after the New York Public Service Commission pushed back its deadline for reviewing Comcast’s proposed $45 billion merger with Time Warner after state officials worried that the cable companies still weren’t doing enough to improve “deficiencies” with their current service.

The transaction has faced significant opposition since it was announced, despite Comcast’s promise to send about 3.9 million subscribers to Charter Communications Inc. in a $7.3 billion deal designed to ease competition concerns about the merger.

Comcast has argued that the deal won’t threaten competition because the two companies do not compete head-to-head for customers in any local markets.

For more information, see Law360.