Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Wi-Lan Appeals Jury Verdict Favoring Apple over Wireless Patent

Case Filed: Apr 29, 2014

Origin Cases: 2:11-cv-00068 and 2:12-cv-00600

Canada, Ontario-based technology innovation and licensing company, Wi-Lan filed a patent infringement case against Apple claiming that two of their patents covering wireless technology used in mobile devices were infringed. Many other companies were sued along with Apple,  including  Alcatel-Lucent, HP, HTC, Kyocera, Novatel, Dell and Sierra. The complaints were filed on Sep 01, 2011 in the Texas Eastern District Court.

The patents involved in the suit were:
  •       RE37802 entitled ‘Multicode direct sequence spread spectrum,’ issued on July 23, 2002
  •       US5282222 entitled ‘Method and apparatus for multiple access between transceivers in wireless communications using OFDM spread spectrum,’ issued on Jan 25, 1994
Both the patents expired[i] on Mar 31, 2012 and were last assigned[ii] to Wi-Lan (source: MaxVal’s Assignment Database.) The ‘802 patent deals with the field of multiple access communications using spread spectrum modulation while the ‘222 patent relates to voice and data transmission in wireless communications.

The complaint alleged that defendants, directly and indirectly infringed by making, using, offering for sale, importing and/or selling products compliant with the CDMA2000 standards (including EVDO Rev. A), HSPA standards, IEEE 802.11 standards and/or LTE standards that fall within the scope of the claims of the patents-in-suit.

The amount of damages sought was not specified in the suit. However, Wi-Lan sought permanent injunction, both compensatory damages and treble damages for willful infringement, prejudgment and post-judgment interest and attorneys' fees, costs and expenses and demanded a jury trial.

Since filing, defendants including Sierra, Novatel, Kyocera, HTC, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Alcatel-Lucent were terminated in 2013 from the case as they signed license and settlement agreements to resolve the litigation, according to Wi-LAN. Apple was the only party that did not settle.

According to the company, Wi-Lan has licensed its intellectual property to over 280 companies worldwide that manufacture or sell a wide range of communication and consumer electronics products and has a large and growing portfolio of more than 4,000 issued or pending patents.

The judgment for the case was entered in Oct 2013 in accordance with the jury’s verdict, finding that Apple did not infringe on the Ontario-based technology licensing company’s ‘802 patent. The Court declared claims 1 and 10 of the ‘802 patent invalid and entitled Apple with costs.

Wi-Lan has filed an appeal against the ruling in U.S. Court of Appeals.

See 2014-1437 for more details. To get alerts on cases filed/closed, subscribe to our Litigation Alerts.

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[i] Expected expiration date. Patent Term Estimator is a free web-based tool that automatically calculates patent terms and expiration dates for U.S. utility patents.
[ii] MaxVal offers Patent Assignment Alert service where subscribers receive email alerts when assignments relating to target applications, patents or entities of interest are recorded.

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