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Two Trial Victories in Federal Court for Robbins Geller Attorneys

June 20, 2014

Robbins Geller successfully enforced the intellectual property rights of its client U.S. Ethernet Innovations, LLC (“USEI”) with two recent jury trial victories in federal court.  USEI is the successor-in-interest to the famous and wildly successful Parallel Tasking technology developed by 3Com Corporation in the 1990s.  3Com’s Parallel Tasking patent portfolio covers technology related to the manner in which a computer or other similar device transmits data over an Ethernet network.  The patented Parallel Tasking technology was critical to 3Com’s multi-billion dollar Ethernet business in the late 1990s and 2000s.

While Robbins Geller successfully enforced USEI’s intellectual property rights with a number of companies based on license agreements, one infringer, Texas Instruments Incorporated, refused to acknowledge USEI’s patents rights.  Texas Instruments argued that the asserted claims of USEI’s Parallel Tasking patents were invalid because they were both anticipated and obvious in light of two prior art devices that were on sale more than a year before the Parallel Tasking patents were filed.

In April 2014, Texas Instruments presented its arguments with regard to the validity of the asserted claims to a Texas federal jury.  Following a week-long trial before the Honorable Michael H. Schneider, the jury returned a verdict for USEI on all three asserted patents and all 14 of the asserted claims.  The jury found that the asserted claims were neither anticipated nor obvious, moving the case toward a second phase of trial on infringement and damages.  As explained by John Herman, who led Robbins Geller’s litigation team, shortly after the result: “U.S. Ethernet is pleased that the jury recognized the strength and validity of the patented Parallel Tasking technology, which once formed the heart of 3Com’s multi-billion dollar Ethernet controller business.  While we are not surprised by the results given the strength of the Parallel Tasking patents, the findings of validity are certainly welcome.”

A second jury trial was held in June 2014 on infringement and damages.  Following another week-long trial, the jury once again returned a multi-million dollar verdict for USEI, finding that Texas Instruments directly infringed and actively induced others to infringe all of the asserted claims.

“U.S. Ethernet is pleased that once again, a jury has confirmed the strength of 3Com’s famous Parallel Tasking technology, this time against Texas Instruments,” said Herman.  “While much of the industry is now subject to a license for the widespread infringement that eroded 3Com’s Ethernet market, a few companies remain in suit in the Northern District of California.”

Robbins Geller attorneys John HermanPeter M. Jones and Robert J. Leonard led the team responsible for obtaining this result for USEI.  The jury verdict resolves U.S. Ethernet Innovations, LLC v. Texas Instruments Incorporated, No. 6:11-cv-491-MHS-JDL (E.D. Tex.).  The related cases in Texas were consolidated with U.S. Ethernet Innovations, LLC v. Ricoh Americas Corporation, et al., No. 6:12-cv-235-MHS-JDL (E.D. Tex.).

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