In April, ClearChannel lost $66 million when an E.D. Texas jury found it guilty of infringing a patent held by holding company Grantley Patent Holdings. Now, the judge in the case has tacked on $16.5 million and interest payments, for a total of almost $90 million.
There have been five big plaintiffs' victories in East Texas already this year; the smallest one was $21 million. My colleague Nate Raymond at The American Lawyer has a good roundup of those decisions here.
The trial was with Judge Clark in the Lufkin division. Grantley Patent Holdings was represented by Minneapolis-based Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi LLP, led by partner Ron Schutz (pictured). ClearChannel was represented by Andrews Kurth. Notably, ClearChannel doesn't appear to have hired any Eastern District counsel. (Grantley had help from Beaumont-based Germer Getz.) This appears to be the only patent case Grantley has filed, so far.
Schutz tells me that the inventors are the plaintiffs in interest; Billy Shane Fox and a business partner own Grantley Patent Holdings, and they control the company that supports their MaxaGrid product. The company is in decline now with two employees, but once had a contract with Clear Channel, which used many of its products for scheduling radio advertisements.
During closing arguments, Clear Channel's counsel, had the hometown advantage, noting that he was born & raised in nearby Marshall, according to Schutz; but that didn't overcome Schutz, who had his own story to tell about being born on a farm in Minnesota and how he was the first person in his family to get a college degree.
On the way out, "A guy comes up to me and says, well, Mr. Schutz, I think you out humbled them," says the lawyer. Schutz is featured in this week's National Law Journal "Winning" supplement: Mom's Advice Wins.
Grantley Patent Holding Ltd. v. Clear Channel Communications, Inc. 06-cv-00259-RC, E.D. Texas.