UPDATE 2: Aircell claims legal victory; Delta excused

Updated to include Delta’s comment about being dismissed from the case last month, and to add further comment from Aircell.
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Aircell says it has won a legal victory after a jury found plaintiff Ambit Corp did not prove patent infringement involving Aircell’s provision of in-flight Internet.

A spokeswoman for Aircell tells RWG that the Chicago-headquartered firm won the lawsuit at trial. “Specifically, on July 28th, the jury rendered a verdict in Aircell’s favor finding as to all claims at issue that Aircell has proved invalidity and Ambit has not proved infringement,” she says.

“The jury ruled, after a lengthy trial, that none of the claims are infringed and that the Ambit patent is invalid for four different reasons – certain claims are anticipated by the prior art, all claims are invalid as obvious, all claims are invalid for violating the written description requirement, and all claims are invalid for violating the enablement requirement.”

Here are copies of the verdict and the judgment:

2010-07-28 – Aircell Verdict Form.pdf

2010-07-29 Judgment.pdf

So does this mean that Aircell will not face further litigation? Not necessarily.

Ambit president and co-founder Robert Crowley tells RWG: “We make no comment about this and also all verdicts are not necessarily in.”

Aircell says: “As policy, we don’t comment on remaining claims.”

Significantly, however, Delta Air Lines, named a defendant in Ambit’s original lawsuit, was dismissed from the case at the end of July, reveals Delta. “We consider the matter closed,” says a Delta spokeswoman.

Adds the Aircell spokeswoman: “All claims against Delta have been dismissed withprejudice. There are no questions remaining as to Ambit’s claimsagainst Delta. They are over and done with.”

Delta has nearly finished equipping its entire domestic fleet with Aircell’s Gogo in-flight Internet service.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to have a good chuckle, I recommend you read the 23 March ‘memorandum and order’ issued by Massachusetts district judge William Young in advance of the jury trial. The man is a hoot – full of bombast!

Motion 155.pdf

Setting aside Young’s bluster, however, you’ll see that Delta’s expert submission in the case was found to suffice by the judge, but only just barely.

Young does make a very good point about the US legal system when referencing the multiple motions for summary judgment made in two prior, unrelated cases.

Key par:

“In no small part, it is this blizzard of motions that makes American patent litigation the slowest and the most expensive on the planet. Tragically, this causes other countries to deride our American jury system, when the reality is that it is the parties who seek to swamp the courts with efforts to avoid a jury.”

As one industry expert tells RWG: “Ultimately, unless the laws in the US change, the only way to solve this is for people to start sharing all the prior art that can be used to invalidate these claims. Such a database would make it much easier to mount a defense, increase the resolve of the defendants, and reduce the resolve of the claimants.”

A prior art database – interesting!

(Speaking of art, the above pic comes from the Search Engine People Blog Flickr photo stream)

IN TOTALLY SEPARATE NEWS:

Aircell has re-branded its air-to-ground (ATG)-based high-speed Internet service for the business aviation market as Gogo Biz. The service was formerly known as Aircell High Speed Internet. The company is also introducing three new programmes for business aircraft operators. More details here.

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