WILMINGTON, DE (STL.News) Fish & Richardson won a $31.2 million jury verdict in Delaware federal court for Swiss clients Wasica Finance GmbH and BlueArc Finance AG in their long-running patent battle against Schrader International Inc. and three other Schrader companies. On February 14, 2020, a jury found that Schrader contributed to and induced infringement of Wasica’s and BlueArc’s ‘524 patent, which covers technology related to tire pressure monitoring systems, and awarded $31.2 million in royalty damages.
The case is the latest chapter of an international patent dispute that started nearly 20 years ago between the parties. Wasica and BlueArc sued Schrader in the U.S. in 2013 after years of alleged infringement. Schrader supplies the sensors installed in the wheels of a tire pressure monitoring system that transmit information wirelessly to a receiver in the vehicle. While many companies had licensed the technology, Schrader sold about 164 million sensors that used the technology without paying royalties.
“We are thrilled that the jury recognized our clients’ contributions to the industry. Schrader’s infringement helped them quickly become the market leader and sell over $1 billion in infringing sensors,” said William Woodford, the Fish principal who led the litigation.
In 2000, Congress passed the TREAD Act, which requires that all vehicles sold in the U.S. include tire pressure monitoring systems to warn drivers about underinflated tires. These systems are valuable because low tire pressure is one of the leading causes of tire failure. It also increases stopping distances and reduces traction, fuel economy and the lifespan of the tire.
“This has been a long, hard-fought case that spanned the district court, the PTAB and the Federal Circuit. Through the ups and downs, our clients maintained confidence in the case and our ability to deliver an excellent result. The verdict shows that small, innovative companies can stand up to the market leader when they feel their patented technology has been taken,” added Woodford.
In addition to Woodford, the Fish trial team included principals Susan Morrison and Jason Zucchi, with support from Frank Scherkenbach and James Huguenin-Love. The case is Wasica Finance GmbH and BlueArc Finance AG v. Schrader International Inc. et al. (U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware).