Maxell Wins $43M in Smartphone Patent Dispute With ZTE
A Texarkana jury gave Maxell all the damages it asked for, plus a finding of willfulness.
By Scott Graham
Consumer electronics manufacturer Maxell Ltd. has scored a $43 million patent infringement verdict against smartphone maker ZTE Corp. in the Eastern District of Texas.
A jury in Judge Robert Schroeder III’s Texarkana courtroom found June 29 that ZTE willfully infringed all asserted claims of seven Maxell patents, which means ZTE could potentially be on the hook for treble damages. The patents cover camera functionality, audio processing, power management and navigation, at least some of which are used in 105 accused ZTE products.
Maxell, represented by Mayer Brown, got additional good news Monday when the Patent Trial and Appeal Board turned away the last of ZTE’s seven administrative challenges to the validity of the patents.
Mayer Brown partner Jamie Beaber said Maxell has been trying to negotiate a license with ZTE since 2013. The company at times admitted using some of Maxell’s technology, but still resisted taking a license, Beaber said. “I think the jury understood that what we were asking for was reasonable,” he said.
The jury awarded Maxell’s entire ask of a $43 million reasonable royalty in Maxell v. ZTE.
Beaber had help from Mayer Brown partners Alan Grimaldi and Kfir Levy and counsel James “Tripp” Fussell III. Geoff Culbertson of Patton Tidwell & Culbertson provided local counsel.
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and Findlay Craft represented Shenzhen, China-based ZTE.
Tokyo-based Maxell owns a portfolio of 5,300 patents, many of them purchased in 2013 from the optronics division of Hitachi Ltd. The patent at issue in the trial related to image stability, video sampling, audio decoding, power management, and navigation that’s optimized for pedestrians, rather than drivers.
Maxell is presently litigating some 47 different patents against BlackBerry Corp., Olympus Corp., Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., ASUSTeK Computer Inc. and Blu Products Inc., Fandango Media Networks Inc. and FOTV Media Networks Inc., according to data compiled by RPX Corp.
Beaber said ZTE had been concerned about the impact of news coverage of the dispute between ZTE and the Trump administration. But voir dire indicated that only two of 42 venire persons or prospective jurors were aware of the news coverage.