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Kerr & Wagstaffe Obtains Patent Trial Victory in East Texas Wi-Fi Litigation

Kerr & Wagstaffe LLP achieved a major trial victory for Australia’s national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation (“CSIRO”), in a patent infringement case concerning CSIRO’s foundational Wi-Fi patent that underlies the IEEE 802.11a, g, n and ac standards.

Following a bench trial earlier this year in which Kerr & Wagstaffe attorney Michael Ng served as lead trial counsel, Eastern District of Texas Chief District Judge Leonard Davis ruled that Cisco Systems Inc. must pay $16.2 million plus interest for its infringement of CSIRO’s U.S. Patent 5,487,069. Cisco did not contest infringement or validity at trial, but did put on a vigorous defense on damages based upon RAND, the Entire Market Value Rule, royalty stacking, apportionment and other evolving patent law doctrines. Judge Davis rejected Cisco’s arguments, concluding that a reasonable royalty was more than 15 times the trivial amount urged by Cisco.

“We are very gratified that the Court’s ruling supports what we have been saying for more than a decade—this is a singularly important patent covering CSIRO’s invention of the technology that lies at the heart of the most successful Wi-Fi standards,” said Michael Ng. “In this trial, Cisco faced liability for only a fraction of its products. The Court’s ruling is squarely in line with the reasonable royalty we have been seeking for more than a decade.”

CSIRO’s patent was filed in 1993 after CSIRO scientists John O'Sullivan, Graham Daniels, Terence Percival, Diethelm Ostry and John Deane invented the core wireless LAN technology that permits high speed wireless data transfers in multipath transmission environments. The inventors have received wide recognition for their work, including the European Patent Office’s European Inventor’s Award, the CSIRO Chairman’s Medal, the Clunies Ross Award and Australia’s Prime Minister’s Prize for Science.

This victory follows nearly a decade of litigation with multiple parties concerning the ‘069 patent. Through that litigation and licensing efforts, CSIRO previously secured more than $420 million in royalties for the patent, making it one of the most successful single patents ever.

CSIRO was represented in the trial by Michael Ng, James Wagstaffe, Daniel Zaheer and Patricia Peden of Kerr & Wagstaffe LLP; Michael Heim and Nathan Davis of Heim, Payne & Chorush, LLP; and Calvin Capshaw, Fred Michaud, Jeffrey Rambin and Elizabeth DeRieux of Capshaw DeRieux, LLP.

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