There's definitely a "morning after" feel around the Hub today after we finished Judge Gilstrap's second patent trial last night after three weeks of pretrial and trial activity. In Ambato v. Garmin (SBPS was cocounsel for the plaintiff Ambato with the Mintz, Levin firm, with Joe Hameline and Howard Wisnia playing speaking roles at trial) a Marshall jury found all three asserted patents infringed by Garmin's MSN Direct-enabled personal navigation devices, and assessed $500,000 in damages. Plaintiff had proposed a range of damages of $4.72-$7.2 million, and the jury was out from noon till a little after 6pm last night before returning its verdict.
Yes, that means a verdict on a Thursday evening - although Judge Gilstrap gave the parties 12 hours a side for evidence, Ambato finished its evidence Tuesday and Garmin Wednesday after using only a combined 15 hours or so (I don't have final numbers, but I'd estimate that was 9-10 hours for plaintiff and 5-6 hours for defendant) so the case was submitted to the jury just before noon yesterday. Judge Gilstrap denied both sides' motions for judgment as a matter of law on infringement and damages during the case, but granted Ambato's motion on Garmin's invalidity defense after Garmin dropped it during trial. At least locally the trial will be remembered as the one where no one could successfully pour water - at least two witnesses and both plaintiff's and defense counsel at one point or another accidentally dumped water all over their tables - something I can't remember ever seeing before in the twenty years I've been in that courtroom. By the end of trial, instructions on how to pour water from the suddenly recalcitrant courtroom carafes were actually taped to the carafes, and the witness' was replaced with bottled water. (An investigation is underway to determine if the water, the pitchers, or the lawyers were at fault. I'm not optimistic about where the blame is going to fall).
The case almost set a precedent for the pretrial proceedings taking longer the trial (I'm afraid to look too closely at the times, actually), with four pretrial hearings (three live and one by phone) spread across the two weeks before the trial started. Throughout, the Hub hosted our Mintz Levin cocounsel as well as other case-related activity, and as always, it's really nice to have your co-counsel in-house, so to speak. One day I moved my office into what I refer to as my "sea cabin" on the balcony of the rent side (a hidden office upstairs that opens onto the old shoe store balconies) to allow my office to be used, and really enjoyed the change of scenery. I'll post in coming weeks on some of the iPad apps we have begun using that allows us to work on case documents while walking around the office and courthouse, and have successfully eliminated the need for paper in almost all situations - even during trial.
Special thanks for beyond-the-call hospitality to our guests goes to downtown purveyors of food and/or spirits Blue Frog Grill, OS2 Restaurant & Pub and Under the Texas Sun, who took exceptionally good care of our visitors from Massachusetts and California during their three weeks in Marshall.