June 26, 2006 Sunnyvale, CA -- Finisar Corp. reports it has won $78.9 million in back damages in a verdict against DIRECTV in a patent infringement case. After a two-week trial in federal district court, a Beaumont, TX, jury rendered a decision last Friday that found DIRECTV and its affiliated companies to be "directly, literally, and willfully" infringing upon Finisar's information transmission patent.
At issue in the case was Finisar's U.S. Patent No. 5,404,505. The methods found within the '505 patent were invented by Finisar's co-founder, Dr. Frank Levinson, who filed a patent application in 1991. The patent addresses unique ways to transmit and broadcast digital information to a wide base of subscribers. The Beaumont jury unanimously upheld the validity of the Levinson '505 patent.
"We think jurors used careful reasoning and sound judgment in coming to their decision," said Finisar lead counsel Larry Laycock of the Salt Lake City, UT-based law firm of Workman Nydegger.
"In reaching a unanimous verdict on all counts, including willful infringement, the jurors sent a strong message regarding the claims in this case," commented Finisar's local trial counsel, Larry Germer of the Germer Gertz firm in Beaumont, TX.
"We have invested significant time and effort to amass a sizeable patent portfolio, the '505 patent being just one of them," said Jerry Rawls, Finisar's chairman of the board, president, and CEO. "Intellectual property is an important asset of our company and we are committed to protecting our intellectual property rights.
"This verdict confirms our long-held belief that the methods found within the '505 patent, developed by my colleague and business partner Frank Levinson, are major contributions to the field of digital information transmission," added Rawls. "I sincerely appreciate the effort and attention that the Beaumont jury gave to our case. As a result of this verdict, Finisar will continue its ongoing '505 patent licensing discussions with other companies operating data distribution networks."