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Fish & Richardson Scores East Texas Patent Infringement Win in Favor of Airlines, Ticketing Companies

March 22, 2012

Fish & Richardson Scores East Texas Patent Infringement Win in Favor of Airlines, Ticketing Companies

March 22, 2012

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Trial over technology used in online seat selection ends with defense victory

TYLER, Texas – Attorneys from Fish & Richardson have won a take-nothing defense verdict on behalf of a group of airlines and ticket sales and distribution companies following an East Texas patent infringement trial over technology used in displaying, selecting and reserving seats online with “mouse-over” functionality.

A jury appearing before the Hon. Leonard Davis in Tyler announced the verdict on March 21, 2012, following a seven-day trial. The jury of four women and four men reached the unanimous decision after one day of deliberations.

The Fish & Richardson defense team was led by Tom Melsheimer, managing principal of the firm’s Dallas office, along with firm principals Carl Bruce, John Goetz, Andrew Graben and Neil MacNabnay and associates Britnee Reamy, Lauren Murphy Pringle and Karen Yeh.

“People who say juries don’t understand complex cases aren’t paying attention,” says Mr. Melsheimer. “This jury rejected the alleged ‘invention story’ presented by the plaintiffs and reached the right conclusion.”

The companies represented by the Fish & Richardson team included Live Nation Worldwide Inc., Ticketmaster L.L.C., Ticketsnow.com Inc., TNOW Entertainment Group Inc., US Airways Inc. and Virgin America Inc. Attorneys Jennifer Ainsworth and William Cornelius from Tyler’s Wilson, Robertson & Cornelius served as local counsel to the same group of companies.

The lawsuit was filed in April 2010 by Tyler, Texas-based CEATS Inc. based on claims that the defendants had violated a series of patents used in the technology that enables Internet users to view, select and reserve their seats online. Attorneys for CEATS asked the jury to award more than $85 million, but were awarded nothing after jurors found each of the claims filed by CEATS to be invalid based on technology that was publicly launched by the online travel website Expedia.com in 1997.

The contested patents were U.S. Patent No. 7,545,361; No. 7,548,866; No. 7,548,869; and No. 7,660,728. The case is CEATS Inc. v. Continental Airlines, et al., No. 6:10-CV-120, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

For more information on the jury verdict, contact Bruce Vincent at 800-559-4534 or bruce@androvett.com

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