Oblon, Spivak Wins Patent Infringement Case; Jury Awards $43.7 Million in Damages

August 5, 2003 – Firm News

For Immediate Release

(August 10, 2005) Alexandria, Va. – A jury in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee in Greeneville has awarded $43.7 million to Asahi Glass Company, Ltd., a Japanese glass manufacturer, and its subsidiary AFG Industries, Inc., a U.S. glass manufacturer, due to patent infringement by Cardinal IG Co., Inc. Asahi and AFG are clients of Oblon, Spivak, McClelland, Maier & Neustadt, P.C.

After a four-day trial, the Federal District Court Judge granted judgment on July 29, 2005 to Asahi and AFG on the issue of infringement and instructed the jury to determine the amount of damages due Asahi and AFG. On August 1, the jury returned a verdict of more than $25.1 million; and on August 9, the Court added prejudgment interest of more than $18.5 million, for a total of more than $43.7 million.

The suit involved a patent (U.S. 4,859,532) jointly owned by Asahi and AFG relating to thin film low emissivity coatings typically used in double pane windows. These coatings reflect heat from the sun while allowing visible light to pass through the window. Cardinal sold the infringing coated glass and insulated glass units from 1991 to 2001 to window manufacturers to construct residential windows.

“Asahi and AFG are gratified that the Judge found Cardinal infringed its patent and that the jury recognized the damages caused to AFG and Asahi by Cardinal’s infringement,” said Richard D. Kelly, a senior partner at Oblon, Spivak, McClelland, Maier & Neustadt, P.C., and the lead counsel for the Plaintiffs. Oblon, Spivak has been and continues to be represented in this case by Richard Kelly, Stephen Baxter, William Enos, Andrew Ollis, Frank West, and Tia Fenton. The Firm was assisted by Jimmie Miller of Hunter, Smith & Davis, LLP of Kingsport, Tennessee during the trial.

AFG’s General Counsel, Christopher Correnti, who worked closely with the firms, stated “Our attorneys did a terrific job throughout the case. We couldn’t be more pleased with their performance and preparation for the trial. Mr. Kelly and his team have worked hard for more than nine years on this case and their efforts have allowed us to obtain the decisions and verdict we now have in this case.”

This jury verdict and award culminates proceedings that began with the filing of the complaint in May 1996 and included three intervening appeals to the United Stated Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. In its most notable opinion concerning the litigation (AFG v. Cardinal, 239 F.3d 1239 (Fed. Cir. 2001)), the Federal Circuit previewed its recent landmark en banc opinion concerning claim construction (Phillips v. AWH, 2005 U.S. App LEXIS 13954) by cautioning against excessive reliance on dictionaries when construing patent claim terms. As the Federal Circuit noted in its 2001 AFG opinion, “this case provides a good example of why definitions from general usage dictionaries may fail to provide satisfactory construction of technical claim terms in dispute.” 239 F.3d at 1248.

Asahi is the largest glass manufacturer in the world and is approaching its 100th anniversary. Headquartered in Tokyo Japan, Asahi has manufacturing, distribution, and sales facilities worldwide. AFG has been headquartered in Kingsport, Tennessee since 1978 and has manufacturing, distribution, and sales facilities throughout North America. AFG became a subsidiary of Asahi Glass in 1992.

Assisting clients for more than 35 years, Oblon, Spivak, McClelland, Maier & Neustadt, P.C., in Alexandria, Va., is one of the largest intellectual property specialty firms in the United States. The firm provides a full range of intellectual property services, including litigation matters in all courts. The firm also continues to have a significant trademark, copyright and patent interference practice.