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posted by janrinok on Thursday July 04, @11:47PM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

In one of the most massive patent verdicts in legal history, a federal jury in East Texas has ordered cellular giant Verizon to pay patentholder General Access Solutions $847 million.

That's a $583 million "reasonable royalty" for infringing US Patent No 7,230,931 (the '931) patent, and $264 million for infringing the other, 9,426,794 ('794), a jury decided [PDF] late last week.

Verizon banked a $12 billion profit in 2023, so the judgment represents seven percent of that annual income, or about 26 days of annual profit.

Dallas-based non-practicing entity General Access, which acquired the patents from original inventor Raze Technologies, claims elements of Verizon's 5G wireless networks, smartphone hotspots, wireless home routers, and MiFi devices violate its intellectual property.

It claims in the original complaint [PDF] that Verizon's base station equipment infringes its '931 patent – to do with beamforming networks across cell sites – and that Verizon wireless devices that receive 4G and 5G cell signals infringe its '794 patent when they route information to mobile stations using 802.11 Wi-Fi comms protocols.

According to the complaint, devices that infringe '734 include Wi-Fi home or office routers with cellular backhaul, Wi-Fi "hotspots," and even smartphones that have Wi-Fi hotspot functionality. Both patents were originally filed in 2001.

Verizon argued that the patents were invalid due to a lack of written description and/or not being "fully enabled," but the jury ticked "no" on the form when asked if it agreed with this.

[...] Legal news website Law360 has noted that Ericsson will be on the hook for part of that verdict, if it stands. It added that such high verdicts "are often overturned or trimmed by the Federal Circuit."

Ericsson told us: "The judicial process is ongoing, and we will therefore refrain from commenting on the details of it. We do however strongly disagree with the jury's verdict and continue to support Verizon in its vigorous challenge to the result."


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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by bzipitidoo on Friday July 05, @01:49AM (5 children)

    by bzipitidoo (4388) on Friday July 05, @01:49AM (#1363128) Journal

    Soon as I saw "East Texas", I knew what this was: Another massive finding in favor of intellectual property law.

    I could understand a jury deciding in favor of a patent troll just to stick it to a telecoms giant, but I'm sure that's not the reason for this decision. East Texas is still infamous for a racist lynching in 1998.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Revek on Friday July 05, @01:57AM (2 children)

      by Revek (5022) on Friday July 05, @01:57AM (#1363130)

      East texas is the place to go to file a questionable IP claim. No way that court isn't taking bribes.

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      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by weirsbaski on Friday July 05, @04:36AM

        by weirsbaski (4539) on Friday July 05, @04:36AM (#1363136)

        East texas is the place to go to file a questionable IP claim. No way that court isn't taking bribes.

        I thought filing suit in East Texas was the bribe: plaintiffs keep pumping up the court by filing there, so the court keeps the plaintiffs coming by tilting the scales for them. Kind of like how arbitrators have a reputation of deciding in favor of the organization that chose them, to make sure organizations keep choosing them.

      • (Score: 5, Touché) by epitaxial on Friday July 05, @04:36AM

        by epitaxial (3165) on Friday July 05, @04:36AM (#1363137)

        They're called gratuities these days and the supreme court says it's A-ok.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Friday July 05, @02:39AM

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday July 05, @02:39AM (#1363131) Journal

      Yes, patent trolls do love Marshall, Tx. I rather liked the headline. The story doesn't live up to the promise of a patent violator being punished. If Ericson built the equipment, then Ericson should be liable. This looks like, if you purchase a device, a vehicle, or whatever, that violates a patent, then you are liable. If Verizon is liable for Ericson's infringement, then General Access may well go after Verizon customers as well. Hell, I could end up paying General Access because I own a 5G capable phone - even though I don't enable 5G.

      On the other hand - Verizon apparently did a crap job on the legal case. They probably need to appeal, and hire a more professional legal team.

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