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HTC Corp. Defeats Smartphone Remote Control Patent Litigation

Published: 05-14-2018

A Texas federal jury has found in favor of Vinson & Elkins client HTC Corporation, rejecting all of the plaintiff’s claims in a case accusing the wireless phone manufacturer of infringing an individual inventor’s patent on user interface and infrared universal remote control technology. The plaintiff had sought damages for each of millions of smartphones sold between 2013-2015.

On May 11, 2018, at the conclusion of a week-long trial in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in Marshall, Texas, jurors found that a universal remote-control feature on HTC’s flagship line of smartphones, which allowed the phones to be used as a universal remote control to operate various external devices such as televisions, does not infringe a patent to Joe Andrew Salazar, a former rocket scientist for the U.S. government.

“We are very pleased with the jury’s verdict, a complete defense win, finding that all 12 asserted patent claims are not infringed by HTC’s flagship line of smart phones, said Fred I. Williams, Co-Chair of V&E’s Intellectual Property practice. “The plaintiff, Mr. Salazar, is a distinguished scientist with a substantial record of public service, personal achievement, and invention claims. His lawyers prosecuted the case vigorously until the end. Our trial team worked extremely hard on this case, ever since we took on the matter earlier this year. My partners Todd Landis and Eric Klein were vital to HTC’s defense. The in-house legal team at HTC were also instrumental in winning the case. And our esteemed co-counsel Harry “Gil” Gillam of Gillam + Smith in Marshall, was outstanding as always.”

Salazar filed the underlying lawsuit against HTC in October 2016, accusing the smartphone maker’s flagship line of phones, including the HTC One M7, HTC One M8, and HTC One M9, of incorporating wireless remote control technology that allegedly infringed United States patent No. 5,802,467. HTC strenuously denied Salazar’s allegations and litigated the case for more than a year before hiring V&E to take over as lead counsel approximately four months before trial.

The V&E litigation team included partners Fred Williams, Todd Landis and Eric Klein and senior associate Mario Apreotesi.

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