Finisar Awarded $78.9M in DirecTV Patent Infringement Case

A federal district court in Beaumont, Texas has awarded Finisar Corp. $78.9 million in back damages in a verdict against DirecTV. The jury found the satellite broadcaster and its affiliated companies directly, literally and willfully infringed upon Finisar's information transmission patent.

Finisar's U.S. Patent No. 5,404,505 includes methods developed by Finisar's co-founder, Dr. Frank Levinson for transmitting and broadcasting digital information to a wide base of subscribers.

"We think jurors used careful reasoning and sound judgment in coming to their decision," Larry Laycock, lead counsel for Finisar said. Larry Germer, Finisar local trial counsel, added, "in reaching a unanimous verdict on all counts, including willful infringement, the jurors sent a strong message regarding the claims in this case."

Jerry Rawls, Finisar's chairman of the board, president and CEO, hinted that DirecTV may not be the only company using technology based on this patent.

"We have invested significant time and effort to amass a sizeable patent portfolio, the '505 patent being just one of them," Rawls said. "Intellectual property is an important asset of our Company and we are committed to protecting our intellectual property rights. This verdict confirms our long-held belief that the methods found within the '505 patent, developed by my colleague and business partner Frank Levinson, are major contributions to the field of digital information transmission. I sincerely appreciate the effort and attention that the Beaumont jury gave to our case. As a result of this verdict, Finisar will continue its ongoing '505 patent licensing discussions with other companies operating data distribution networks."