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Commil USA, LLC v. Cisco Systems, Inc: Revision

This petition raised two issues relating to inducement of patent infringement; patented technology and Cisco’s knowledge of Commil’s patent.  Commil is the owner of U.S Patent No. 6,430,395; covers the invention of an improved way to implement short-range wireless networks by managing “hand-off” between multiple access points thus, allowing for a broader wireless network coverage and reduction of interference with user’s activities. 

The second part of the petition was Cisco’s knowledge of Commil’s patent, there was evidence of several conversations in 2004 and 2005 between Commil’s CEO and Cisco mergers and acquisitions manager discussing Commil’s technology and patents, along with current products accused of infringement.  Cisco acquired a company called Airespace that were accused by Commil of product infringement. The founders of Airespace testified at the trial that Cisco had knowledge of Commil`s patent shortly after purchasing Airespace.  It was also indicated that Cisco knowingly migrated all their customers to the accused product that was in dispute with Airespace.  In 2007 Commil field a lawsuit against Cisco claiming that Cisco directly infringed the asserted `395 patent claims with the sale and encouraged use of the accused product.  

The first trial was held in May 2010, and the jury returned a verdict that Commil`s patent was not invalid and that Cisco directly infringed, but Cisco was not liable for inducement, and Commil`s damages were $3,726,207 as presented by Cisco`s damages expert.  Throughout this trial religious reference played on stereotypes with the jurors and the district court found that the verdict was unreliable and ordered a new trial on inducement and damages. App 44a.   

At the second trial the Jury was given instructions on inducement intent based on approved instructions by the en banc Federal Circuit om DSU Medical Corp. v JMS Co., 471 F3d 1293 (Fed. Cir. 2006).  The instructions were given seven weeks prior to the Court issued Global-Tech opinion and included the following:

  1. ". . . Commil must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that Cisco actively and knowingly aided and abetted [its customers] direct infringement.” App. 238a"

  2.  “. . . Commil must show that Cisco actually intended to cause the acts that constitute direct infringement and that Cisco knew or should have known that its actions would induce actual infringement.” App. 238a-239a.

  3. “Inducing third-party infringement cannot occur unintentionally.” App.239a.

  4. “Cisco ... cannot be liable for inducing infringement if it was not aware of the existence of the patent.” App. 239a

After the second trial the jury returned a verdict that Cisco was liable for inducing infringement and damages of $63, 791, 153 were awarded to Commil.