April 04, 2024

Mayer Brown Lands $10.3M Verdict for Korean Cellphone Manufacturer


The week-long trial concluded with jury findings that Chinese company OnePlus willfully infringed five of cellphone maker Pantech's patents related to wireless communication and user interface technologies used in OnePlus’ smartphones.

Mayer Brown obtained a $10.26 million verdict for a Korean company in a patent infringement jury trial in the Eastern District of Texas against OnePlus Technology (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd.

The week-long trial, ending March 29, concluded with jury findings that the Chinese company OnePlus willfully infringed five of cellphone maker Pantech’s patents related to wireless communication and user interface technologies used in OnePlus’s smartphones, and held that the patents were valid.

Mayer Brown’s trial team also highlighted the history of the parties’ negotiations to show that OnePlus was an unwilling licensee.

The trial team was led by partner Tripp Fussell and included partner Gray Buccigross, counsel Tiffany Miller, and associates Clark Bakewell and Courtney Krawice. Local counsel was Geoffrey Patton Culbertson and Kelly B. Tidwell of the Texarkana firm Patton Tidwell & Culbertson.

The trial was presided over by U.S. District Judge Robert W. Schroeder III of the Eastern District of Texas.

Fussell said their case was complicated during the pretrial stage because of Pantech’s corporate history. At one time, Pantech was the second largest cellphone manufacturer in Korea and the patents at issue were developed during that period and prior to a bankruptcy that led to a reorganization and eventual acquisition by another party.

“There were earlier license agreements that the original Pantech had entered into. Our damages expert said they should not be considered due to circumstances surrounding those agreements,” Fussell said. ”The judge really restricted how much we could talk about those circumstances, which was certainly a hurdle for us.”

Consequently, Pantech’s legal team and experts were not able to present a specific number for damages to the jury, Fussell said. The damages expert used a comparable license agreement, he said.

Pantech was able to present evidence based on rates that were applied, or certain discounts that were applicable, and the jury was given the total sales numbers of OnePlus in the United States, Fussell said.

The Mayer Brown team presented five expert witnesses—one on damages and four that focused on the patent infringement claims and validity of the patents, Fussell said.

OnePlus was represented by David M. Airan of the Chicago firm Leydig Voit & Mayer. Their local counsel included attorneys at Mann, Tindel & Thompson of Tyler. Airan did not respond to a request for comment.

Fussell said the defense focused on mitigating potential damages on three 4G and 5G technology standard essential patents and on attacking the validity of two non-essential patents related to user interface.

Referring to the essential patents, Fussell said, “They were taking the position that certain prior license agreements established a royalty rate that Pantech was required to adhere to.”

The plaintiffs were able to establish Texas federal court as a proper venue because the OnePlus U.S. subsidiary is in Richardson and Pantech’s U.S. subsidiary, Pantech Wireless, is based in Austin, Fussell said.

The case number for Pantech v. OnePlus Technology (Shenzhen) Co. is 5:22-cv-00069-RWS.

Reprinted with permission from the April 4, 2024 edition of Texas Lawyer © 2024 ALM Properties, Inc. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited.

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