Appeals Court Vacates $100 Million Award Against DirecTV

DirecTV won a major legal victory, worth more than $100 million, last Friday when a federal appeals court sent a patent-infringement case back to a lower court.

The appeals court vacated a jury award and judge’s decision that mandated that DirecTV had to pay more than $100 million to Finisar, which provides fiber-optic systems for high-speed data networks.

The court sent Finisar’s patent-infringement suit back to a lower court.

The appeals court determined that the district court that handled the 2006 jury trial “incorrectly construed a vital term featured prominently in each asserted claim” and made other errors.

The patent in question involved different ways to transmit and broadcast digital information to a wide base of subscribers.

In June 2006 a jury awarded Finisar $78.9 million from DirecTV in the patent-infringement case, and the next month a judge awarded Finisar an additional $25 million.