Cases & Deals

SOLiD and Reach obtain jury verdict finding non-infringement in competitor-vs.-competitor patent case

Client(s) SOLiD, Inc.

Following a seven day trial, a jury in the Northern District of California unanimously found that Jones Day clients SOLiD, Inc. and Reach Holdings LLC did not infringe any claims of a 16-year-old wireless communications patent owned by Corning Optical Communications Wireless Ltd., a subsidiary of Corning, Inc. During the 18-month litigation, Corning pursued a damages claim in excess of $37 million, which it sought to treble based on allegations of willful infringement. After deliberating for less than two and a half hours, the jury returned a complete defense verdict, finding that SOLiD and Reach did not infringe and had not induced or contributed to infringement by its customers. This competitor versus competitor case was one of the few patent infringement cases to go to a jury in the Northern District of California.

Corning initially filed suit in May 2014, alleging that Korea-based SOLiD and its exclusive U.S. distributor Reach violated two Corning patents by making and selling SOLiD's ALLIANCE distributed antenna system equipment, which enables cellular and public-safety communications at hospitals, sports stadiums, large buildings, college campuses, international airports, and metropolitan subways. Just weeks before trial, SOLiD and Reach succeeded in persuading the district court to grant summary judgment of non-infringement of Corning's second asserted patent (directed to a method for propagating wireless signals across a distributed antenna system) and to reduce Corning's damages request by more than half, finding that Corning could not seek pre-lawsuit damages because of its failure to mark its products with the relevant patent numbers or provide actual notice of infringement.

At trial, executives from SOLiD's Korea headquarters testified regarding SOLiD's independent development of the technology behind the ALLIANCE distributed antenna system, including the system's use of innovative wave division multiplexing technology, for which SOLiD has received multiple U.S. patents. Executives from Reach also testified as to the market need that SOLiD's technology fulfilled.

Corning Optical Communications Wireless Ltd. v. SOLiD, Inc. et al., Case No. 5-14-cv-03750 (N.D. Cal.) (Judge Grewal)