What happens when you take your last business trip around the world, your last Tour De France, or your 3rd Olympic games? You tell yourself I'm going to enjoy this one. I think with Judge Jackson is enjoying one of his last major cases. Judge Jackson is going on 19 years in the Eastern District of Virginia and is about 69 years old and is about to wrap up the Case of I/P Engine, Inc.'s case against AOL, Inc. ("AOL"), Google, Inc. ("Google"), IAC Search & Media, Inc. ("IAC"), Gannett Company, Inc. ("Gannett"), and Target Corporation ("Target") (collectively, "Defendants") with respect to the Defendants' infringement of the asserted claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,314,420 (the "'420 Patent") and 6,775,664 (the "'664 Patent") (collectively, the "Patents").
In my life I've learned not to upset certain people, Family, Cops and Judges for the reason that you have to listen to what they say and they can make your life a living hell. That being said I think Judge Jackson was upset when Vringo (VRNG) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) could not come to terms with Magistrate Judge Tommy E. Miller pretrial. So starts the case.
In the Case between the Vringo and Google Judge Jackson shows both sides that he's an impartial judge by ruling fairly on motion and not ruling on some of the motions. By not ruling on some motion he is showing both sides that if they try to abuse the system he can make it fair again in the jury eyes. (This brings back memories of me as a kid when Mom would threaten me with something to make it fair between me and my brothers.)
I believe in the trial Judge Jackson is seeing this case is one sided, not for any foul play but the case against Google was pretty strong with the evidence. I'm not blaming either side lawyers for doing a good or bad job based on the hand that they were dealt but in the end is where this trial gets interesting. A ruling in Google's favor comes out to limit damages against Google, Law of Laches (undue delay). No one can tell you why Judge Jackson ruled this way as Vringo called it "procedurally improper", but that was shot down by Judge Jackson. Did the Judge tip the scale back to even? How would you call reducing the damages even?
Well the Jury has already came back the Infringement section with 70yes's (All yes's), under the Validity section did the defendant prove the patent to be invalid, 14 No's (all No's). After that you have two sections of reason that the Jury decided the way they did. Looks like Judge Jackson was right that it was a one sided case. So how did he even the playing field by ruling on the Law of Laches? We'll now both sides have a reason to appeal the case.
1) Google can appeal that some of their witness testimony that was not credited or thrown out and a new jury might side with Google this time.
2) Vringo can appeal that the Law of Laches should not apply in this case and the past damages should be increased.
What the Judge didn't know is that the damages part of the Jury Verdict is under question now about a miscalculation. Many questions have come up about it and in fact on Pacer they have redacted the Jury Verdict 789 document and sealed a 790 document which might be the same document. The questions that have come up so far are:
1) It's odd that AOL and IAC are paying half as much as Google is in past damages.
2) It's odd that Google is only paying 10% of what we expected them to pay based on the Royalty Rate the Jury verdict assigned.
3) It's odd that the Running Royalty Rate is 3.5% and not .0316% (which is the 3.5% of the ~20.9% increase the patent had on Google's US revenue (~40-50%) of the Ad revenue (~96%)).
This is the time we all put our tinfoil hats on and guess what's going to happen next. We all love a good conspiracy theory, was there a second person behind the grassy knoll? Did you know JFK was assassinated on November 22, 1963, and Judge Jackson received his commission for the US District Court for Eastern District of Virginia on November 22, 1993, and the author of this article was born on November 22 , 19(muffle sound, muffle sound). November 22 is only 12 days away and Judge Jackson hasn't given his final Ruling on the case. Will it be on November 22, 2012?
Of Course not, Thanks Giving is on November 22 this year and the court will be closed. I'm sure in due time Judge Jackson will give his final Verdict on the case, I'm sure some of those questions above the Judge will/has asked the Jury for clarification on as he needs to rule on the case and put one more in the books. I'm sure the two sides are trying to work out an arrangement for some sort of settlement going forward and Judge Jackson might give them a couple more days to see with what they come up with. A settlement between the two sides can't get appealed, where a ruling from the Judge and Jury can, and the Judge wanted a settlement from the beginning.
Oh yea, what about the tired Jury in the title of this Article, from past experiences of being in many conference rooms and using tons of dry eraser board markers, mistakes can be made. These 9 people sitting listening in on technical talk which probably doesn't make much sense to them, having to eat cafeteria food, with 8 other people they don't know gets old after 2 days. Most likely what happened is there is someone on a white board with a marker, one person with a calculator and one person with the Jury Verdict form, the person on the white board probably show the person on the calculator take Google's revenue from this data add it up and use our 3.5% Royalty rate. What does that give us? His response was One Five Eight zero zero zero zero zero zero and that was written down as 15,800,000. Did they miss a zero and not catch it? Probably, it probably didn't standout too much as they were tired, at the finish line and was excited to get out of there. At that point of a meeting at work I'm usually packing up my laptop, checking my calendar for what's next and giving a couple yup, yup to keep everyone moving so we can be done. If it was an error Judge Jackson will make it even. Give it some time.
Disclosure: I am long VRNG. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.