• August 1, 2011

Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi (“RKMC”) patent litigators, Ron Schutz, Jake Holdreith, Cy Morton and an accompanying a small team of RKMC associates and RKMC support staff went toe-to-toe in a jury trial in the Eastern District of Texas for Personal Audio LLC in a patent infringement lawsuit against a little company called Apple, Inc., which somehow scraped up the money to fight the RKMC team with an army of lawyers.

Apple apparently makes some kind of new-fangled record-player one can carry in one’s pocket (yeah, right).   Plaintiff Personal Audio claims Apple Devices (iPod classic, mini, nano, iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad) infringe on two Personal Audio patents (US Patent 6,199,076, US Patent 7,509,178).  Apple was represented at trial by intellectual property lawyers from Fish & Richardson.  An interesting aspect of the case is the Court’s decision to separate the jury trial into two jury trials based on product categories (separating strictly music-playing devices like the iPod Classic from the more varied Apple products like the iPod Touch etc) to simplify the issue for each jury.

Then the first jury found patent infringement, patent validity, and damages for a one-time “lump sum” $8 million  (as opposed to awarding “running royalty,” which presumably would increase PA’s damages massively.)  Apple contends the first jury’s lump sum award now gives Apple a  “freedom to operate” license, while PA contends the jury’s verdict cannot be extended beyond the products that were in evidence and that were found to infringe.

Does the second trial go forward?  Can the first jury’s damages award apply to devices that were not even part of the trial?

The question may be a multi-million dollar question; the case may be far from over.

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