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WASHINGTON, DC, July 14, 2008 — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit today ruled that Thomson Reuters and i-Deal, LLC did not infringe a patent that covers the online auction of municipal bonds. The Federal Circuit’s decision overturns a lower court’s ruling in favor of MuniAuction Inc., that had awarded the plaintiff $84.6 million. Covington & Burling LLP represented Thomson Reuters and i-Deal on the appeal.
In July 2007, a federal judge for the U.S. District Court for Western Pennsylvania doubled a jury’s $38.5 million damage award, awarded MuniAuction $7.6 million in interest, and entered a permanent injunction banning the future sale of Thomson’s electronic bid submission system (Muniauction, Inc. v. Thomson Corp., 501 F. Supp. 2d 477). Covington, which did not represent the defendants during the jury trial, successfully obtained a stay of the injunction, and appealed to the Federal Circuit. Today’s decision reverses the jury’s verdict on both infringement and invalidity, ruling as a matter of law that several of the claims were invalid as obvious and that Thomson Reuters did not infringe the remaining claims.
The Covington team was led by patent litigation partners Richard Rainey and Tony Herman, with Rainey arguing the case for the appellants, and Herman taking principal responsibility for the briefing. They were assisted by associates Scott Weidenfeller, Peter Swanson, Ben Haley and Roger Ford. All are based in the firm’s Washington office.