Last year a jury in Judge Richard Schell's court in Plano returned a verdict for the plaintiff in Texas Advanced Optoelectronic Solutions v. Intersil Corp., 4:08cv0451, a complex breach of contract, trade secret misappropriation, tortious interference with prospective business relations and patent infringement case. The jury awarded various amounts under various theories, with the total around $88 million (of which the patent damages of $73,653.51 was less than one-thousandth of the total awarded), and included in its findings that the defendant had willfully infringed the patent claims.
This week Judge Schell ruled on the motions for judgment as a matter of law, and in doing so trimmed the damages to reflect duplicative awards under different theories (essentially cutting the tortious interference elements) to a final total of $77 million. The Court also ruled on the plaintiff's request for enhanced damages under Section 284 based on the willful infringement finding and for "exceptional case" status under Section 285.
In language reminiscent of Judges Yeakel and Costa rejecting 285 claims after defense wins at trial, Judge Schell agreed with the defendant that even though the jury rejected its noninfringement and invalidity arguments, the defenses were not objectively unreasonable. This finding defeated objective willfulness and thus enhanced damages under 284. For 285 purposes, the Court concluded that the plaintiff had not carried its burden to show that the case was "exceptional" for 285 purposes, and denied the request for attorneys fees.