Cisco Just Avoided A $64 Million Patent Judgement

December 28, 2015, 7:35 PM UTC
Cisco Systems
FILE - This Feb. 3, 2009 file photo, shows the Cisco Systems logo at Cisco Systems headquarters in San Jose, Calif. Cisco Systems Inc. said Thursday, March 15, 2012, it is buying digital video technology company NDS Group Ltd. for about $5 billion to enhance its video offerings to pay-TV providers and expand in emerging markets. The deal includes about $1 billion in debt. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)
Photograph by Paul Sakuma — AP

(Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court on Monday cleared Cisco Systems of infringing another company’s wifi technology, reversing a near $64-million judgment against the networking equipment maker in the long-running patent dispute.

After eight years of litigation that also included a trip to the U.S. Supreme Court, the decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said Cisco was not liable for directly infringing or inducing others to infringe a patent held by Commil USA on a way to help spread wireless signals over a large area, where multiple access points are needed.

Representatives for Commil and Cisco could not immediately be reached on Monday.

Commil sued Cisco (CSCO) in 2007. In 2011, a federal jury in Texas found that Cisco induced infringement by encouraging its customers to use Cisco products that infringe Commil’s patent. The jury awarded Commil almost $63.8 million in damages. A judge subsequently added $10.3 million in interest.

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In 2013, the Washington, D.C.-based Federal Circuit, the nation’s top appeals court specializing in patent issues, ordered a new trial, saying that Cisco should have been able to mount a defense based on its “good faith belief” that Commil’s patent was invalid.

The Supreme Court in May said that defense was not legitimate, throwing out the ruling and sending the case back to the Federal Circuit.

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A three-judge Federal Circuit panel on Monday again ruled in favor of San Jose, California-based Cisco.

The panel said that when it last considered the case, it did not consider some of Cisco’s arguments that it did not infringe the patent. In weighing those arguments this time, the panel said that “substantial evidence did not support the jury’s findings.”


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