SAP Asks US Supreme Court to Review $391 Million Patent Award

SAP America, the US arm of a German multinational enterprise software company, has asked the US Supreme Court to review a decision by the Federal Circuit that upheld a jury verdict making SAP liable for $391 million in patent infringement damages.

SAP argued that it has already invalidated the claims of the patent at issue, which is owned by Versata Software Inc.

Versata sued SAP for patent infringement in 2007.  In the first trial, a jury concluded that SAP had infringed both patents, but the judge found no infringement as a matter of law for one of the patents and ordered a new trial to determine damages.

At a second trial, the jury awarded Versata $260 million for lost profits and an additional $85 million for patent royalties.  Prejudgment interest brought the total award to $391 million.

In May of 2013, the Federal Circuit agreed with the district court jury that SAP had infringed the Versata patent.  The Federal Circuit rejected SAP’s arguments that the lower court had miscalculated Versata’s damages.

However, six weeks after the Federal Circuit upheld the infringement verdict, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) declared that Versata’s patent was invalid.  The USPTO decision was the first issued in a challenge filed under the new America Invents Act (AIA).

In September, the USPTO denied a request by Versata to reconsider the invalidity ruling.

According to SAP’s petition to the Supreme Court,

In the first review proceeding, the [U.S.] Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board declared invalid as mere abstract ideas the patent claims that are the basis of respondents’ nearly $400 million judgment against SAP. SAP now faces the prospect of having to pay a $391 million judgment despite having successfully invalided the patent claims at issue — whereas SAP’s competitors who might have ‘infringed’ the same patent will avoid any similar liability.

Stay up-to-date on the latest Intellectual Property Law news from Sheldon Mak & Anderson.

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