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$64 million Wi-Fi patent case against Cisco tossed

Posted On: Dec. 28, 2015 12:00 AM CST

(Reuters) — A U.S. appeals court on Monday cleared Cisco Systems Inc. of infringing another company's Wi-Fi technology, reversing a near $64-million judgment against the networking equipment maker in the long-running patent dispute.

After eight years of litigation that included a trip to the U.S. Supreme Court, the decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said Cisco was not liable for directly infringing or inducing others to infringe a patent held by Commil USA L.L.C. on a way to help spread wireless signals over a large area, where multiple access points are needed.

Representatives for Commil and Cisco could not immediately be reached Monday.

Commil sued Cisco in 2007. In 2011, a federal jury in Texas found that Cisco induced infringement by encouraging its customers to use Cisco products that infringe Commil's patent. The jury awarded Commil almost $63.8 million in damages. A judge subsequently added $10.3 million in interest.

In 2013, the Washington, D.C.-based Federal Circuit, the nation's top appeals court specializing in patent issues, ordered a new trial, saying that Cisco should have been able to mount a defense based on its "good faith belief" that Commil's patent was invalid.

The Supreme Court in May said that defense was not legitimate, throwing out the ruling and sending the case back to the Federal Circuit.

A three-judge Federal Circuit panel on Monday again ruled in favor of San Jose, California-based Cisco.

The panel said that when it last considered the case, it did not consider some of Cisco's arguments that it did not infringe the patent. In weighing those arguments this time, the panel said that "substantial evidence did not support the jury's findings."

The case is Commil USA LLC v. Cisco Systems Inc., in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, No. 12-1042.