Apple Inc. and LG Electronics Co. persuaded an appeals court Thursday to finish off a $180 million patent case brought by Alcatel-Lucent SA. The ruling comes just a week after oral arguments that pitted the smartphone makers’ heavyweight lawyers at Fish & Richardson and Jones Day against equally formidable counsel from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.
In a one-sentence order, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a 2012 jury verdict that smartphones sold by Apple and LG don’t infringe video compression patents owned by an Alcatel-Lucent subsidiary called Multimedia Patent Trust. MPT appellate counsel Kathleen Sullivan of Quinn Emanuel had urged the panel to rule that the trial judge erroneously instructed jurors about how to interpret the patent claims at issue.
Alcatel-Lucent seemed to have high hopes for the case, which was brought back in 2010 in U.S. district court in San Diego. The patents at issue formerly belonged to AT&T, and at least 33 companies have taken out licenses to them, according to statements MPT lead trial Frederick Lorig of Quinn Emanuel made during the 2012 trial. MPT sought $172 million in damages from Apple and $9 million from LG.
Apple argued that it already had a license to the patents through an industry pool, and that in any event MPT was trying use outdated patents to claim a monopoly on recent advancements in video coding technology.
A Fish & Richard team including Michael McKeon and Juanita Brooks represented both Apple and LG at trial. Because Apple and LG were raising multiple issues on appeal, they split last week’s Federal Circuit arguments between McKeon, Fish’s Justin Barnes and Greg Castanias of Jones Day. Quinn Emanuel’s Sullivan made the case for MPT.
Thursday’s ruling doesn’t come as a huge surprise. In a report on the July 11 oral argument, The Recorder’s Scott Graham noted that one of the judges on the panel, Alan Laurie, dissented from a 1999 ruling that was central to Sullivan’s case on appeal.