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DIGITAL RECORDER FIRM WINS AGAINST SONY Sony Electronics Inc. has lost another round in a patent infringement suit involving its digital video recorder products. U.S. District Judge Martin Jenkins ruled last week that Command Audio Corp. did not intentionally deceive the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office when filing its DVR patents, as Sony had claimed. The decision follows a previous ruling by the court in June that Sony is infringing two patents that Command Audio claims cover the recording of audio broadcasts and playback using a menu. San Mateo-based Command Audio said Sony’s infringing products include the TiVo box Sony made under a license from TiVo Inc. and the company’s Vaio personal computers with GigaPocket software. Lawyers for Sony and Command Audio said the case will now go to trial. “We’re delighted that the court has disposed of this defense that Sony raised and we look forward to continuing the litigation to its conclusion,” said James Lewis, a partner in Bingham McCutchen’s East Palo Alto office who represents Command Audio. “Although disappointing to us, the ruling doesn’t distract from our opinion that the patent is invalid and unenforceable,” said Sony attorney Matthew Lehr, a partner in Latham & Watkins’ Menlo Park office. “We’re still in the fight.” Command Audio, which does not have any products on the market, has licensed its patents to Motorola Inc., Thomson Consumer Electronics and others. — Brenda Sandburg SIDLEY AUSTIN IS SUED FOR AGE DISCRIMINATION NEW YORK — The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, charging that the law firm practiced age discrimination in demoting or forcing the retirement of older partners. The suit could result in millions of dollars in back pay to former Sidley Austin partners. And it could force most large law firms to adopt radically different management structures and practices if law firm partners are determined to be “employees” under federal law. Filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the commission’s suit follows months of failed conciliation talks between the agency and the firm, whose largest office is in Chicago. In July, after almost four years of investigation, the EEOC issued an administrative finding that Sidley Austin had likely violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. In its complaint, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charges that the firm violated the ADEA by “maintaining and implementing, since at least 1978, an age-based retirement policy.” The EEOC began investigating Sidley Austin in 2000, shortly after the firm demoted to counsel status more than 32 partners. The agency contends that virtually all of those lawyers, most of whom were in their late 50s and early 60s, were involuntarily downgraded because of their age. The EEOC says it is suing on behalf of other partners who were forced to retire, were demoted or were expelled under similar circumstances. The firm, then known as Sidley & Austin, merged with New York’s Brown & Wood in 2001. It has more than 1,500 lawyers, making it one of the world’s largest. — New York Law Journal GOTTI CO-DEFENDANT HAS RIGHT TO SHOW THREAT NEW YORK — Alleged death threats made by the late John Gotti to the lawyer of Gotti co-defendant Frank LoCascio won LoCascio a hearing that could lead to a new trial. On Thursday, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ordered a hearing on allegations that Boston lawyer Anthony Cardinale was threatened by Gotti at his 1992 trial for murder and racketeering and told how to conduct his defense. According to an affidavit from a lawyer connected with LoCascio’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus, Cardinale said in 2002 that he was told by Gotti never to speak with LoCascio alone and was ordered not to question witness Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano about LoCascio’s lack of involvement in one of the central charges of the indictment — the murder of Louis DiBono. Cardinale revealed the threats to the other attorney but said he would not testify about them unless compelled to do so because he still fears retaliation from Gotti allies. The case is LoCascio v. U.S., 03-2485. — New York Law Journal

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