NEW YORK, April 25, 2005- LAWFUEL – The Law News Network -Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP obtained a complete defense victory for its client Universal Instruments, a subsidiary of Dover Corporation, following a three-week jury trial in federal court in Texas – plaintiffs’ home court and one of the most hostile jurisdictions in the nation for defendants, according to the American Tort Reform Association. All 17 claims of the asserted software patent were found invalid and not infringed.
The suit, filed in 2002, was one of a rapidly increasing number of patent suits that high-tech companies are facing against so-called “patent trolls,” companies or individuals whose primary business model is licensing and enforcement of patent assets. In the Universal suit, plaintiffs alleged infringement by Universal’s flagship GSM(R) assembly machine for surface mount placement of semiconductor components on printed circuit boards-used in computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices. The Court entered final judgment in Universal’s favor on March 25. Plaintiffs will not be appealing.
The case was followed by companies in the electronics industry because plaintiffs had boasted loudly in a Texas Lawyer article, following a claimed victory against Motorola in an earlier suit in Texas, that they had taken on the “biggest, baddest dog on the block,” and the rest of the industry would simply give up without a fight. They were wrong.
“We have come to recognize that cost of litigation settlements premised on a desire to avoid the risks of a jury trial of an otherwise strong defense are a short-term solution to the patent troll problem,” said Robert A. Cote, an IP litigation partner with Orrick in New York and lead trial counsel for Universal. “From our perspective, such settlements have created a much bigger, long-term problem: a ‘win-win’ business model and the gold fever that comes with it, all at a tremendous cost to the electronics industry.
“Universal should be congratulated for making a bold move to defend itself,” said Mr. Cote. “The results prove that ‘patent trolls’ can be confronted and can be beaten, with the right strategy and the right resolve.”
About Orrick’s Intellectual Property Group
Orrick’s 120-lawyer IP litigation group is highly regarded for trying and winning cases. Clients trust Orrick IP to manage high-risk and high profile litigations and to advise them in matters ranging from pre-litigation strategies to the decision of when and how to try cases. In the last year, Orrick was successful in 21 patent litigations for its clients.
Orrick is an international law firm with 725 lawyers in North America, Europe, and Asia. The firm’s 14 offices are located in New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Orange County, Pacific Northwest, London, Milan, Paris, Rome, Tokyo, and Taipei. Orrick’s clients span the spectrum from individuals and startups to Fortune 500 companies.