Last week, EchoStar pulled off what many would consider an upset; they won a case in the Eastern District of Texas as a defendant. Even more stunning is the fact that EchoStar was victorious over Austin, Texas based Forgent Technologies. As reported by the Denver Post
The Douglas County-based satellite-TV company, known for its bare-knuckles legal battles, took the case to trial and won. The jury returned a verdict in EchoStar’s favor on May 21, finding that Forgent’s patent related to digital-video recorders was invalid.
Forgent sued EchoStar and many other telecommunications companies (including DirecTV, Charter, and Comcast, among others), for infringing their patent for a “computer controlled video system allowing playback during recording patent #6285746). According to the summary of the invention on the patent application, the invention may be implemented into a teleconferencing system which receives and stores digital information representative of information from multiple media. Forgent was successful in getting several of those companies to settle, but EchoStar decided not to play follow the leader and the gamble paid off. According to the press release from Morrison and Foerster (counsel for EchoStar), Forgent’s patent was invalidated by a unanimous jury after only an hour of deliberation. So, while the E.D. of Texas is still a plaintiff’s paradise, it isn’t necessarily a death sentence for big corporate defendants.