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U.S. Court of Appeals Affirms Trial Court’s Decision that Motorola Phones Do Not Infringe University of Texas System Patent


Schaumburg, Ill.- In an opinion issued on July 24, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a district court order granting summary judgment in favor of Motorola, Inc. (NYSE:MOT) and its customers on infringement claims asserted in a patent case brought by the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System (“University of Texas System”). The University of Texas System had appealed an order by U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks finding that Motorola software, when used in its handsets and its customers’ handsets, does not infringe on. U.S. Patent No. 4,674,112 (“the ’112 patent”).

The ‘112 patent claims a method for communicating text over telephones using vocabularies of “syllabic elements.” The University of Texas System had asserted the ’112 patent infringement claim against Motorola and over 30 additional handset manufacturers that incorporated text messaging software into their handsets. The University of Texas System claimed that nearly all mobile handsets in the industry infringed the ‘112 patent and it sought several hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

In affirming summary judgment in Motorola’s favor, the Federal Circuit held that the District Court correctly construed the phrase “syllabic element,” as set forth in the infringement claim, to be limited to character strings of a single syllable in length. The Federal Circuit further held, based on the plain language of the patent, as well as declarations and disclaimers made during the prosecution history, that the ‘112 patent was limited to a vocabulary of only syllabic elements. Because it was undisputed that neither Motorola nor any of its customers used text messaging software with a vocabulary of only syllabic elements, the Federal Circuit held that there was “no substantive dispute regarding the relevant issues of fact” and affirmed the District Court’s ruling of non-infringement.

“Motorola is extremely gratified with the decision of the appellate court confirming our belief that Motorola products did not infringe the University of Texas System’s patent claims”, said Thomas V. Miller, Motorola Senior Litigation Counsel. "We look forward to a final conclusion of this matter,” Miller said.

Motorola was represented before the District Court and on appeal by Charles Verhoeven of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver and Hedges.


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