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United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
April 18, 2008, Decided
[***1611] [*1326] RADER, Circuit Judge.
By a jury verdict, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas found that The DirecTV Group, Inc., DirecTV Holdings, LLC, DirecTV Enterprises, LLC, DirecTV Operations, LLC, and DirecTV, Inc. (collectively DirecTV) had infringed U.S. Patent No. 5,404,505 (the '505 patent), assigned to Finisar Corporation (Finisar). Finding DirecTV's infringement to have been willful, the jury awarded $ 78.9 million in reasonable [**2] royalty damages. The district court sustained the jury's verdict, except with respect to induced and contributory infringement, denied Finisar's request for injunctive relief, imposed a compulsory license, and awarded Finisar $ 25 million in enhanced damages. Finisar Corp. v. DirecTV Group, Inc., No. 1:05-CV-00264, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76380 (E.D. Tex. July 7, 2006) (Final Judgment). The district court also denied DirecTV's post-judgment motions for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) or a new trial. Finisar Corp. v. DirecTV Group, Inc., Case No. 1:05-CV-00264, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 70300 (E.D. Tex. Sept. 1, 2006) (JMOL Order).
Because the district court incorrectly construed a vital term featured prominently in each asserted claim, this court vacates the verdict of infringement. Furthermore, the district court erred in ruling that the prior art did not anticipate claim 16. This error also infects the scope of the prior art for assessing the validity of the rest of the claims. Therefore, this court remands for a new trial on both infringement and validity of claims 17, 22, 24, 26, 39, and 44.
The '505 patent, issued on April 4, 1995 from an application filed on November 1, 1991, claims systems and methods for scheduling transmission of database [**3] tiers upon specific demand or at specific times and rates of repetition. The '505 patent describes an information broadcasting system that gives subscribers access to video and audio programs through high-speed satellite or cable links. See '505 patent, Abstract; col.1 1.68 -- col.2 1.2. Under the patented system, subscribers do not need to request the most popular and trendy [***1612] movies, for example, or other programs. Instead the system anticipates likely (more popular) requests and broadcasts those programs to users on an announced schedule at regular intervals. Thus, most of the interaction between the user and the information server is unidirectional, meaning that the server sends most of the data to the subscriber without even receiving a request.
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523 F.3d 1323 *; 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 8404 **; 86 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1609 ***
FINISAR CORPORATION, Plaintiff-Cross Appellant, v. THE DIRECTV GROUP, INC., DIRECTV HOLDINGS LLC, DIRECTV ENTERPRISES LLC, DIRECTV OPERATIONS LLC, HUGHES NETWORK SYSTEMS, INC., and DIRECTV, INC., Defendants-Appellants.
Subsequent History: Rehearing denied by, Rehearing, en banc, denied by Finisar Corp. v. DirecTV Group, Inc., 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 13888 (Fed. Cir., May 29, 2008)
US Supreme Court certiorari denied by Finisar Corp. v. Directv Group, Inc., 555 U.S. 1070, 129 S. Ct. 754, 172 L. Ed. 2d 727, 2008 U.S. LEXIS 9026 (U.S., Dec. 8, 2008)
Prior History: [**1] Appeals from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in case no. 1:05-CV-00264, Judge Ron Clark.
Finisar Corp. v. Directv Group, Inc., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76380 (E.D. Tex., July 7, 2006)
Disposition: AFFIRMED-IN-PART, REVERSED-IN-PART, AND REMANDED.
database, scheduling, infringement, transmission, downloading, district court, tiers, programming, portions, memory, anticipation, indices, packets, storage, pages, Videotex, specification, disclose, transmitted, invention, patent, broadcasts, subscriber, user, corresponding, hierarchical, prior art, repetition, arranged, referencing
Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, Abuse of Discretion, Trials, Judgment as Matter of Law, Postverdict Judgment, Judgments, Relief From Judgments, Motions for New Trials, Patent Law, Infringement Actions, Claim Interpretation, Aids & Extrinsic Evidence, General Overview, Jurisdiction & Review, De Novo Review, Substantial Evidence, Anticipation & Novelty, Description in Publications, Fact & Law Issues, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Nonobviousness, Elements & Tests, Remedies, Damages, Increased Damages, Specifications, Description Requirement, Means Plus Function, Definiteness, Precision Standards