More than five years into its litigation campaign against a gaggle of big retailers, patent plaintiff Alexsam Inc. is still making trouble for defendants in East Texas. On Friday seven retail chains—including Best Buy Co., JC Penney Co., and Barnes & Noble Inc.—failed to convince a federal jury in Marshall that two of Alexsam’s patents related to prepaid electronic gift cards are invalid.
The jury concluded Friday that the patents were valid, leaving the retailers’ to forge ahead with their still-pending inequitable conduct defense at a bench trial set for next Monday before U.S. District Judge Michael Schneider. The companies claim that Alexsam misled the patent office when it applied for and later received the two patents. The other defendants are Gap Inc., McDonald’s Corp., Toys R Us Inc., and Home Depot Inc.
Alexsam’s patents, issued in 2001, cover systems to activate and recharge cards with a stored-value, such as gift and phone cards. During the invalidity trial, attorneys for the defendants argued that the patents didn’t cover a new idea.
Alan Fisch of Fisch Hoffman Sigler, who founded his firm last year after leaving Kaye Scholer, represented all of the defendants except Best Buy. Best Buy has Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi. The defense lawyers weren’t immediately available to comment.
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