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U.S. SC to hear patent infringement case against Cisco

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Dec 29, 2014

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - The U.S. Supreme Court this month agreed to review a federal appeals court ruling that threw out a $63.8 million patent infringement verdict against Cisco Systems Inc.


Commil USA LLC asked the nation’s high court to decide whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which hears all U.S. patent appeals, was correct to set aside the verdict and order a new trial.


In 2011, a jury for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas found in favor of Commil.


The company, based in The Woodlands, Texas, sued Cisco -- one of the largest designers, manufacturers and sellers of networking equipment -- over a patent covering wireless networking technology.


The verdict later was bumped to more than $73 million with the addition of prejudgment interest, but was nullified in 2013 by the Federal Circuit.


The Federal Circuit held that Cisco should have been allowed to enter evidence that it had a good faith belief that the infringed Commil patent was invalid. The patent was found to be valid by jurors in an earlier trial in 2010.


Both the U.S. Solicitor General and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office backed Commil’s request for the court to hear the case.


Commil and its supporters argue the Federal Circuit’s decision flew in the face of the U.S. Patent Act, which holds that all issued patents are presumed to be valid.


“We are very pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear Commil’s appeal so this important issue can be resolved,” said Mark S. Werbner of Dallas-based Sayles Werbner, which is part of the team representing Commil in the appeal.


“We are confident that the high court will strike down the ‘new defense’ created by the Federal Circuit, which unfairly absolves those who infringe a valid patent.”


In its Dec. 5 order, the Supreme Court noted that Justice Stephen Breyer will not participate in the case.


A ruling is expected in June.


From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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