The Federal Circuit today dialed up 1-800-REVERSE.
In a patent dispute between companies that route “1-800” phone calls for major companies, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit tossed a $49 million enhanced-damage award lodged against Virginia-based Targus Information Corp.
In 2002, a company called 800 Adept sued Targus in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, contending that Targus technology infringed Adept patents. Targus filed a counterclaim arguing that Adept’s services infringed several Targus patents.
After a 24-day trial, the jury found that Targus had willfully infringed on Adept technology. But the Federal Circuit saw things differently.
The final jury instruction on claim construction, the appeals court said, changed the dynamic of the trial. Targus attorneys had objected to the language in the instruction, saying it misinterpreted the patent.
“Under the correct claim construction, no reasonable jury could find that Targus infringes the asserted claims of Adept’s patents,” Senior Judge S. Jay Plager wrote for the panel, which included Judges Arthur Gajarsa and Timothy Dyk. The appeals court threw out the damage award and permanent injunction against Targus. The court remanded for a new trial on the issue of patent validity.
William Lee, a partner in Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr’s Boston office who represented Targus, says he is pleased with the court’s ruling. “The claims against Targus are over,” Lee says.
Stephen Milbrath, a partner at Orlando’s Allen, Dyer, Doppelt,Milbrath & Gilchrist, who represented Adept, could not be reached for comment.