Software Firm Whacked for $391 Million

MARSHALL, Texas (CN) - Software firm SAP is not off the hook for a $391 million patent infringement judgment against it in spite of a patent-in-suit being invalidated by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a federal judge ruled.
     Germany-based SAP AG and subsidiary SAP America Inc. were ordered to pay $328 million in damages and $63 million in interest in September 2011 for infringing on two patents held by Versata Software.
     The Austin-based software developer sued SAP in 2007.
     SAP filed a motion for relief from judgment in January this year based on the PTO's Patent Trial and Appeal Board issuing a non-final decision that the patent claims are invalid.
     U.S. Magistrate Judge Roy Payne denied SAP's motion this week, concluding that the PTO's findings do not qualify as "extraordinary circumstances" that would allow the award to be vacated.
     "Defendants have taken advantage of a full and fair opportunity to litigate the validity of the patent before this court, before the jury, and before the Federal Circuit, even pursuing a writ to the United States Supreme Court," Payne wrote. "To hold that later proceedings before the PTAB can render nugatory that entire process, and the time and effort of all of the judges and jurors who have evaluated the evidence and arguments would do a great disservice to the Seventh Amendment and the entire procedure put in place under Article III of the Constitution."
     Payne wrote that a stay would "clearly unduly prejudice" Versata and be a "clear tactical advantage" for SAP.
     Although the PTO's findings are not final, Payne did not believe later finality would change his conclusion.
     "Indeed, it is the finality of the judgments issued by the federal courts that is at stake here," he wrote.
     Payne was not persuaded by SAP's arguments against the size of the judgment, finding it was found proper by both the trial court and the Federal Circuit.
     "There is also no showing that the amount of the judgment would cause undue harm to the defendants," he wrote. "Indeed, the affidavit of the Chief Financial Officer of defendant SAP AG represents that it 'has the financial wherewithal to satisfy the judgment due to plaintiffs' and will do so by wire transfer within 15 days of finality." SAP did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.