Godo Kaisha IP Bridge 1 v. TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd., No. 19-2215 (Fed. Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Godo sued TCL, alleging infringement, arguing that the patents-in-suit are essential to the Long-Term Evolution (LTE) standard and that TCL’s accused devices are LTE-compatible. A jury found that TCL was liable for infringement by its sale of LTE standard-compliant devices, including mobile phones and tablets. In post-trial motions, TCL unsuccessfully argued that Godo’s theory of infringement was flawed because the “narrow exception” to proving infringement in the standard way—i.e., by showing that each element in the asserted claim is present in the accused devices—only applies in circumstances where the patent owner asks the court to assess essentiality in the context of construing the claims of the asserted patents.
The Federal Circuit affirmed, rejecting TCL’s contention that whether a patent is essential to any standard established by a standard-setting organization is a question of law to be resolved in the context of claim construction. Where, as here, there are material disputes of fact regarding whether asserted claims are in fact essential to all implementations of an industry standard, the question of essentiality must be resolved by the trier of fact in the context of an infringement trial. Substantial evidence supports the jury’s infringement verdict.