Names Top 10 IP Litigation Wins of 2009

The April 1, 2010 issue of Corporate Counsel, who provides daily breaking news coverage of the in-house counsel world, profiled the Top 10 IP Litigation Victories of 2009. The victories selected represent a diverse array of wins, which a press release announcing the Top 10 list says is due to “the differing objectives of IP litigation today.” These victories range from multimillion-dollar jury verdicts, including the biggest patent award ever, which was won by Johnson & Johnson’s Centocor Ortho Biotech unit against Abbott Laboratories, to the i4i injunction win blocking the distribution of Microsoft Word editions having a popular XML feature.

According to Corporate Counsel, which is published in print and online by ALM and is available on the Web through, the following 10 litigations were the Top 10 for 2009.  The article does not rank them from 1 to 10, but they are presented here in the order they appear in the article.  While these are the 10 litigations selected, the commentary is my own, so be sure and check out what has to say in its Top 10 article as well.

  1. Largest Patent Damages Award Ever – On June 29, 2009, Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc. received a federal jury verdict of $1.67 billion against Abbott Laboratories in a patent infringement suit.  Centocor is a unit of Johnson & Johnson.  The patent in question related to the company’s anti-TNF class of arthritis treatments, and is co-owned by New York University and Centocor, with Centocor being the exclusive licensee. For more see Abbott to Pay J&J $1.67B for Patent Violation.
  2. Microsoft Word Slapped with Injunction – On August 11, 2009, the United States District Court Judge in the Eastern District of Texas issued a final order in the matter of i4i v. Microsoft. In addition to losing approximately $300 million, Judge Leonard Davis also entered a permanent injunction, ordering Microsoft to cease selling the ubiquitous word processing program Word.  This injunction was affirmed by the Federal Circuit on December 22, 2009.  For more see i4i Victorious at CAFC, Microsoft Word Enjoined Jan. 11, 2010.
  3. RealNetworks DVD Software Gets Enjoined – In October of 2008, U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel initially barred sales of RealDVD, a RealNetworks Inc. software program that would let users make personal copies of their own DVDs, on a temporary basis. Then in August of 2009, Patel granted a preliminary injunction pending completion of the trial. Earlier this month the Associated Press reported that RealNetworks settled with the six movie studios who brought the lawsuit, agreeing to pay $4.5 million to the studios for litigation costs.  For more see Judge Rules DVD-Copying Software Is Illegal.
  4. Microsoft Wins Reversal of 2 Massive Patent Damage Awards – In April 2009, Uniloc won a $388 million patent infringement award against Microsoft.  In September the district court overturned the jury award, saying: “the jury lacked a grasp of the issues before it’ and reached a finding without a legally sufficient basis.”  See Uniloc’s $388M Verdict Against Microsoft Reversed. Also in September the Federal Circuit reversed a $511 million verdit for Alcatel-Lucent and ordered a new trial in the case on damages (see Federal Circuit Overturns Damages in Microsoft Case) making September 2009 a very good month for Microsoft.
  5. Versata Wins $139 Million Patent Award – In August 2009, Versata Software won a patent lawsuit it brought against German software vendor SAP AG. SAP AG was ordered to pay Versata Software $138.64 million for infringing patents covering software that let customers manage pricing for products along complex distribution networks. For more see Versata Wins $139M Damages in SAP Patent Lawsuit.
  6. Merck Gets Singulair Win Over Teva – On August 19, 2009, Judge Garrett Brown of the United States Federal District Court for the District of New Jersey, issued an Order and Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law in the dispute between between Merck and Teva Pharmaceuticals. Judge Brown found that the patent in question, US Patent No. 5,565,473, was valid and enforceable, and that the Teva’s Abbreviated New Drug Application (“ANDA”) filing infringed the patent. The ‘473 patent specifically relates to montelukast sodium, which is the active ingredient in the Singulair® tablets, Merck’s pharmaceutical product used for treating certain ailments, including asthma and allergic rhinitis. For more see Merck Wins Singulair Victory Over Teva.
  7. Some Superman rights recaptured by heirs – The epic battle between DC Comics and Warner Brothers, in one corner, and the heirs to Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel, in the other corner, saw a number of key rulings during 2009. Including the Siegels recapturing rights to Superman’s origins on planet Krypton, his launch as a baby into space and his crash-landing on Earth. Warner Brothers and DC still retained the copyrights to other elements of the Superman character, including the copyrights to Superman material published between 1938 and 1943. The victory of the Siegels was largely to the first two weeks of Superman comics. See Judge Larson’s decision, issued August 12, 2009.
  8. Launch Media prevails over Record Labels – In Arista Records v. Launch Media, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit was called upon to determine whether a webcasting service that provides users with individualized internet radio stations – the content of which can be affected by users’ ratings of songs, artists, and albums – is an interactive service within the meaning of 17 U.S.C. § 114(j)(7).   If it is an interactive service, the webcasting service would be required to pay individual licensing fees to those copyright holders of the sound recordings of songs the webcasting service plays for its users.  If it is not an interactive service, the webcasting service must only pay a statutory licensing fee set by the Copyright Royalty Board.  The Second Circuit determined that the webcasting service was not an interactive service, handing Launch Media, a subsidiary of Yahoo!, a major victory.
  9. Veoh Networks prevails over UMG – Veoh Networks Inc., a video-sharing Web site backed by high-profile investors, prevailed against Universal Music Group in a lawsuit brought by UMG that argued that Veoh was infringing copyrights by the online distribution of videos.  The district courted ruled that safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act prevented Veoh from being liable.  Unfortunately, the growth of Google’s YouTube and the distractions presented by the UMG lawsuit were too much for Veoh.  In February 2010 Veoh announced its intention to file bankruptcy and liquidate.  For more see Veoh Networks to Liquidate.
  10. Recording Industry Wins 2 File-Sharing Cases – Joel Tenenbaum, who became something of a folk hero, was ordered to pay a total of $675,000, or 22,500 per song, as a result of his willful infringement of 30 songs downloaded over the KaZaA peer-to-peer network.  See Oy Tenenbaum! RIAA wins $675,000, or $22,500 per song.  Jammie Thomas-Rasset also lost a retrial, was ordered to pay $1.92 million for copyright infringement, but this was later reduced at the start of 2010 to $54,000. See RIAA in Pickle Over Jammie Thomas ruling.

So let the debate begin.  What, if anything, do you think is missing from the list?  What, if anything, would you remove from the list?


Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author as of the time of publication and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of

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