An Ottawa-based patent-licensing firm named Wi-Lan is one of several patent licensing operations that claims to own patents relating to wireless Internet. Wi-Lan filed a lawsuit against 22 companies over WiFi back in 2007, and in 2010 the firm went to East Texas to sue others, claiming it owned patents critical to the data transmission standards in mobile phones. Later that year, it also sued anyone who makes cable modems.
Most patent cases settle, but a group of defendants in a Wi-Lan mobile phone case saw it through to trial, resulting in a defense win against Wi-Lan that had immediate financial results for the company, which trades on NASDAQ as WILN. The patent-holding company lost about a third of its stock value after the verdict was announced Monday afternoon, but has since made a partial recovery.
The defendants at the six-day trial were Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, HTC, and Sony; LG Electronics was also sued but the docket indicates LG settled with Wi-Lan in 2010. Court records indicate that the jury took just about one hour to decide the case. The verdict form shows that none of Wi-Lan’s patents in this case were found to be infringed, and three of them were found to be invalid because they were anticipated by earlier technology or were just obvious.
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