SHB Obtains $69.5 Million Verdict for Sprint

On September 25, 2007, an eight-person jury awarded $69.5 million to firm client Sprint Communications Co. in a patent infringement lawsuit against Vonage Holdings LLC and Vonage America, Inc.  The award culminated a three-week jury trial held in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas before Chief Judge John Lungstrum.  According to various news reports, it was one of the largest patent verdicts in the United States this year.

After deliberating for 10 hours, the jury found that Vonage infringed all 14 asserted patent claims of the six patents at issue and that all of the asserted patent claims were valid.  The jury awarded past damages of $69.5 million and a 5 percent ongoing royalty on Vonage’s future revenues, which could generate an additional $50 million per year in revenues for Sprint.  Sprint will be entitled to prejudgment interest, bringing the total for past damages to approximately $75 million.  Because the jury also found that Vonage had willfully infringed Sprint’s patents, Sprint is entitled to seek treble damages, up to a possible $210 million, from the court.

Sprint is considering whether to pursue a permanent injunction against Vonage to bar the company from using Sprint’s patented technology, which allows phone calls to be made between packet networks, such as the Internet, and the public telephone network.  During trial, evidence showed that Vonage, as a company, could not exist without this patented technology.

Partner Trent Webb led the successful SHB trial team, which included Partner Peter Strand, Associates Eric Buresh, Adam Seitz, Rob Reckers, and Jason Mudd, and Patent Agent Paul Hart.