AT&T Appeals to Federal Circuit after Patent Lawyers Blow Deadline

After its patent law firm missed a deadline for challenging a $40 million patent infringement verdict against it, AT&T has asked the Federal Circuit for more time to appeal.

On February 6, US District Judge Orlando Garcia denied a motion by AT&T seeking an extension of time to appeal a March, 2013 verdict that it infringed patents owned by Two-Way Media LLC.

The patents at issue include a “Multicasting method and apparatus” and relate to technology for live-streaming audio and video over the Internet.

A Texas jury found that AT&T and its subsidiaries infringed seven claims of two of the patents and that AT&T had failed to prove that the patents were invalid.

The deadline to appeal the jury verdict passed in December.  AT&T claimed that docket notices emailed from the court did not make it clear that all post-trial motions had been resolved by November, which started the clock ticking on the 30-day period for filing an appeal.

AT&T said that its attorneys only realized in January that the motions had been resolved when one of them happened to actually read the orders while looking for something else.

Judge Garcia did not consider that a good enough reason to grant an extension, saying that it was “very troublesome” that none of AT&T’s 18 patent attorneys at two law firms “bothered to read the orders issued by the court, check the docket for activity, or check on the status of the case” – especially given how much money was involved.

AT&T has agreed to post a $40 million bond while it appeals the decision prohibiting it from appealing the verdict.

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

 

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