Cases & Deals

Avid settles revived data storage patent infringement suit against Harmonic shortly before trial

Client(s) Avid Technology Inc.

After a Jones Day team obtained a reversal of an adverse jury verdict from the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on behalf of Avid Technology, Inc. ("Avid"), the case settled, with a cross-licensing agreement and a substantial payment of cash to Avid, shortly before trial.

Avid, a pioneer in video and audio production technology, has developed and patented solutions for creating and editing digital video, including movies and television programs. In this case, Avid sued Harmonic, Inc. ("Harmonic") in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware for infringing several of its patents directed to high-performance distributed data storage systems. After the patent's claims were construed, the case went to a jury, and the jury found that Harmonic's accused product did not infringe Avid's patents as interpreted by the district court. The district court entered judgment on the verdict of non-infringement.

Avid, newly represented by Jones Day in the Federal Circuit, appealed. On January 29, 2016, the Federal Circuit vacated the district court's judgment of non-infringement and remanded the cases for further proceedings. In particular, the Federal Circuit held that the district court had improperly instructed the jury regarding the meaning of a disputed claim limitation. That error, alone, required reversal. However, the Federal Circuit further ruled that Avid had established the presence of this claim element in Harmonic's accused product as a matter of law, and remanded for a further hearing on the meaning of a second claim limitation. The appellate decision returned the case to the district court for further proceedings, with the Federal Circuit stating that "Harmonic's assertion of non-infringement based on this claim element is not [to be retried], thus narrowing the scope of issues for the new trial on remand." Avid then prevailed in the district court with respect to the interpretation of that second limitation. On October 20, 2017, just weeks before the case was scheduled for trial, the parties settled.

Avid Technology, Inc. v. Harmonic, Inc., 812 F.3d 1040 (Fed. Cir. 2016)