Fish wins Summary Judgment for Microsoft in the Eastern District of Texas

Judge Leonard Davis, United States District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Texas, granted Microsoft Corporation’s motion for summary judgment of non-infringement in a patent case the day before the jury trial in the case was set to begin. Both Microsoft and co-defendant Nintendo had moved for summary judgment in December; and both motions were granted on March 16, 2009, the day before opening statements in the trial. The defense victory represents an exceptional win in the Eastern District where fewer than 3% of patent cases are resolved by summary judgment.

The case involved a patent on a “Low-Voltage Joystick Port Interface,” a device that makes older joysticks compatible with newer personal computer processors. The plaintiff, Richardson, Texas-based Fenner Investmnts, Ltd., filed the lawsuit in 2007 and alleged that Microsoft’s popular Xbox and Xbox 360 products infringed the patent. Fenner sought hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

Fish & Richardson, counsel for Microsoft, argued that the interface was unnecessary for modern game systems, like Xbox and Xbox 360 products, which have dedicated game controllers. The court agreed, and found that Microsoft’s products did not infringe Fenner’s patent.

Lauren Degnan and Ruffin Cordell, principals of Fish & Richardson, represented Microsoft in the case.

“We are obviously very pleased with the result. All the hard work was done by the Court in this case,” Cordell said. “Judge Davis and his staff did a masterful job with the claim construction, and then ensured that the parties remained faithful to that construction. In these highly technical cases, we all rely on the diligence and acumen of the Court in getting to the truth,” Degnan added.

Fish & Richardson is a leading global law firm practicing in the areas of intellectual property, litigation, and corporate law. With more than 500 attorneys and technology specialists in 11 offices in the United States, and an office in Germany, the firm is unlike any other law firm in the world. Fish has redefined IP law for a market that values IP as a fundamental business asset. Fish’s elite legal team combines corporate, technical, and legal expertise to help clients maximize the value of their IP. Surveys show that Fish is the largest IP practice in the United States (Managing Intellectual Property, October 2008), handles more patent litigation than any other law firm, both in federal district courts (IP Law & Business, July 2008) and the International Trade Commission (IP Law & Business, June 2008), and is the #1 patent firm for the world’s most innovative companies (IP Law & Business, November 2008).