William Lee of WilmerHale
William Lee of WilmerHale ()

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has brought a near-certain end to RealTime Data’s patent infringement campaign against a large swath of the financial services industry.

In a decision issued Monday, the appeals court affirmed a trial judge’s ruling that about two dozen banks, stock exchanges and media companies don’t infringe on RealTime’s patents relating to market data transmission. Companies benefiting from the ruling include Credit Suisse AG, CME Group Inc. and Thomson Reuters Corp.

RealTime claims to hold patents on a data compression technology known as FAST, which is widely used in the transmission of financial data. In 2009 RealTime’s lawyers at McKool Smith brought a trio of patent infringement lawsuits in the Eastern District of Texas. One case targeted banks, including HSBC Holdings plc and Goldman Sachs & Co.; one case involved stock exchanges like CME and NYSE Euronext; and the third was aimed at data providers like Reuters and Bloomberg LP.

In 2011 the defendants persuaded the Federal Circuit to transfer the cases from Texas to U.S. district court in Manhattan, where they were assigned to Judge Katherine Forrest. In 2012 Forrest handed summary judgment to the defendants, ruling that RealTime’s patents are invalid and and not infringed, as we reported here.

The Federal Circuit held oral argument on Dec. 4. The defense group opted to split its allotted 30 minutes of argument time between a trio of defense lawyers—Michael Hawes of Baker Botts (for CME Group), William Lee of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr (for Credit Suisse), and James Shalek of Proskauer Rose (for NYSE Euronext)—each of whom argued a specific legal issue. McKool Smith partner Dirk Thomas handled the entire argument for RealTime.

McKool’s Thomas was not immediately available for comment. Wilmer’s Lee declined to comment.

The defendants also include Morgan Stanley (represented by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom); HSBC (represented by Locke Lord); Bloomberg (represented by Willkie, Farr & Gallagher); Reuters (represented by Vinson & Elkins); and Interactive Data Corporation (represented by Irell & Manella).