On November 1, 2016, The Honorable Rodney Gilstrap of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas added $456,000 in enhanced damages after a jury found that LG willfully infringed two patents owned by Core Wireless LLC. The jury had awarded Core Wireless $2,280,000 in actual damages.
This case began in 2014, when Core Wireless sued LG, alleging infringement of two patents directed toward improving battery life and voice quality in cellphones. The patents are part of a portfolio of around 2,000 patents that Core Wireless acquired from Nokia in 2011. According to the court, Core Wireless approached LG about licensing its portfolio and engaged in a long series of meetings, including seven in Seoul, Korea, at LG’s headquarters. At the end of the licensing discussions, LG invited Core Wireless to Korea indicating that it was going to make an offer for license. Instead, LG delivered a one-page presentation to Core Wireless where it stated that a lawsuit was preferable to a license and that LG did not want to be the first major cellular phone manufacturer to license the portfolio. Instead, LG wanted to wait for another major manufacturer to license the portfolio and be a “follower” using an established royalty scheme. This was one of the primary facts that Judge Gilstrap held weighed in favor of enhancement. Judge Gilstrap noted that LG’s one-page presentation should have been sent via email instead of delivered at an in person meeting in Korea.
Judge Gilstrap also relied on other factors to support his decision to enhance damages. It was undisputed that LG had knowledge of the patents-in-suit and that LG’s ability to “muster” a non-infringement position did not insulate it from enhanced damages—especially under the Supreme Court’s recent Halo decision. Further, the Court found that LG’s invalidity defense was undermined by admissions by LG’s corporate representative that he had thoroughly reviewed Core Wireless’s patents and concluded that they were novel and non-obvious. The patents-in-suit are U.S. Patent Nos. 7,804,850 and 6,633,536.
Core Wireless Licensing v. LG Elecs., Inc., No. 2:14-cv-912-JRG (E.D. Tex. Nov. 1, 2016).