On November 4, 2018, the District Court for the Central District of California awarded Alfred Mann Foundation over $268 million in total damages (not including over four years of interest) for Cochlear’s willful infringement of one of the Foundation’s patents. Dan Johnson was lead counsel in the District Court trial in 2014 after having been asked to take over the case just four months before trial and after close of discovery. After a two-week trial, the jury awarded the Foundation over $131 million in damages. Cochlear appealed the verdict to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which ruled that certain of the patent claims are valid and infringed, returning the matter to the District Court to decide the issue of damages. On remand, the District Court upheld the $131 million jury damages award, awarded an additional $2.8 million in supplemental damages, and exercised its discretion to enhance damages by doubling both the jury damages award and the supplemental damages because Cochlear’s infringement was willful. In addition to upholding the jury’s finding of willfulness, the judge’s 75-page opinion also held that the trial tactics employed by Cochlear were unsuccessful and resulted in a waiver of several crucial defenses.
Month: September 2018
Micron Technology, Inc. v. United Microelectronics Corporation, et al. (Northern District of California)
Dan Johnson Law Group represents United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC), one of the world’s leading semiconductor foundries, headquartered in Taiwan. On December 5, 2017, UMC was sued by Micron Technologies in the Northern District of California for allegedly misappropriating trade secrets relating to DRAM technology. In February 2018, Mr. Johnson’s team filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, asserting that Micron’s causes of action relate only to activities that took place in Taiwan, and the Court lacks jurisdiction in California. Judge Jeffrey S. White entered an order on April 23 finding that Micron’s initial allegations and pleadings had failed to establish a prima facie basis for jurisdiction and allowed limited jurisdictional discovery and supplemental briefing. The case was transferred to Judge Maxine M. Chesney on June 13, 2018 after Judge White recused himself. The Court set a new hearing on the motion to dismiss for September 21, 2018. UMC is represented in this matter by Dan Johnson, Mario Moore, and Robert Litts.
Yu et al. v. Apple and Samsung (Northern District of California)
Dan Johnson Law Group represents Yanbin Yu, Ph. D. and Zhongxuan Zhang, Ph. D., the inventors and owners of United States Patent No. 6,611,289, in separate patent infringement actions against Apple and Samsung. Drs. Yu and Zhang invented pioneering digital camera technology that captures images using two separate image sensors and then enhances one image with the other. This technology has been adopted by numerous smartphone manufacturers, including Apple and Samsung, to provide a variety of features that are highly desired by consumers. Drs. Yu and Zhang were true visionaries, conceiving their approach to improving digital camera performance years before anyone else recognized the power of this technology. The complaints seek enhanced damages from both Apple and Samsung because their own patent filings demonstrate that they knew about the ‘289 Patent yet never attempted to contact Drs. Yu and Zhang to seek a license. DJLG recently obtained a favorable result in an inter parties review proceeding in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office filed by Apple and later joined by Samsung, preserving the validity of a key patent claim being asserted in the infringement actions. DJLG will be arguing an appeal in the Court of Appeals in the Federal Circuit regarding the patent-eligibility of the ‘289 Patent.
Rogers v. Keurig/Green Mountain Coffee
Rogers, a family owned coffee company, manufactures the coffee pods used in Keurig brewers. Rogers filed suit for violations of the antitrust laws by alleging that Keurig engaged in a concerted pattern of behavior including entering into agreements preventing competitors from selling their products in the office and retail space. Keurig also designed a locking mechanism that prevented Rogers coffee pods from working in Keurig brewers. The matter is currently venued in the Southern District of New York, pursuant to an order from the Multi District Panel. Dan Johnson Law Group successfully opposed Keurig’s motion to dismiss, resulting in all of Rogers’ claims remaining in the case. The matter is currently in the discovery phase.
Bank of the West v. Eric Sterling, et al. (California Superior Ct., Sonoma County)
Bank of the West filed a breach of guaranty claim against Eric and Craig Sterling arising out of the foreclosure of Esterlina, a family-owned winery located in Healdsburg, California. The Sterlings filed a cross-complaint for lending discrimination and disparate treatment in violation of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Unruh Civil Rights Act, and also asserted affirmative defenses for fraudulent concealment and misrepresentation, in connection with loans made to the Sterlings by Bank of the West and the bank’s refusal to renegotiate the loans despite having done so for other borrowers. DJLG took over representation of the Sterlings in April 2017, and, through discovery, uncovered significant new evidence supporting the Sterlings’ claims.
TPC Las Alcobas
DJLG represents Presidio Partners and TPC in a dispute with another partner, Venustus, over the development and management of the Las Alocbas hotel in St. Helena, California.
This matter is set to be filed in Superior Court in San Francisco with a companion arbitration in San Francisco.
Compuware v IBM (Eastern District of Michigan)
Compuware sued IBM for theft of trade secrets and copyright infringement of Compuware’s diagnostic tools used in the main frame environment. IBM counterclaimed for patent infringement. IBM developed and released competing software tools in ten months. The same tools had taken Compuware 25 years to perfect. The IBM software development team was based in Perth Australia. The case was tried to a jury in Detroit Michigan over five weeks. Using sophisticated time in motion studies, animations, and IBM development documents, the case settled with consideration of $400 million.
ActiveVideo Networks, Inc. v. Verizon Communications Inc., et al.
ActiveVideo had a large portfolio covering video on demand technology but had been unable to license to the technology despite numerous efforts over a number of years. Mr. Johnson led the team to identify the best patents and claims proving infringement, having the ability to withstand a validity challenge and having the greatest chance to maximize the monetary recovery. Next, they strategically selected the best venue in which to litigate the action.
A two-week jury trial in the Eastern District of Virginia yielded a $265 million verdict for the client, affirmed on appeal.
Monolithic Power Systems, Inc. v. O2 Micro International LTD, et al. (Northern District of California)
The client O2 Micro was sued for patent infringement. O2 Micro filed a counter suit for trade secrets. At trial, Mr. Johnson’s team was able to establish that the patents were invalid based on disclosures found in a publically available textbook. The team was also able to show that the plaintiffs stole our client’s technology in order to try and maintain a competitive advantage. The jury invalidated the patents and awarded damages for the theft of the trade secrets. The case was affirmed on appeal.
Craig Thorner and Virtual Reality Feedback Corp. v. Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC., et al. (District of New Jersey)
The plaintiff developed a mechanized game chair for use with video games and sued Sony for patent infringement. The parties had previously reached a settlement in an earlier case. The plaintiff claimed the earlier agreement was procured by fraud. Mr. Johnson’s team successfully deployed a dual strategy of enforcing the prior agreement and defending on the basis that the patents were both not infringed and invalid. After a successful motion for summary judgment the case settled for a nominal sum.