Litigation Against Verizon Wireless Could Affect Company Stock
A leading patent consulting and litigation firm, General Patent Corporation (GPI), has just announced on behalf of its clients, Digital Technology Licencing LLC (DTL) that it has reached an out-of-court settlement of its two patent infringement lawsuits against Verizon Wireless and AT&T. This is a major development in DTL’s patent litigation, which has been going on since February 2020.
The lawsuits were filed against Verizon Wireless and AT&T on behalf of Digital Technology Licencing LLC (DTL). As previously noted, the litigation against Verizon Wireless was the result of patents that DTL obtained in an out-of-court settlement with another patent licensing company. The other patent licensing company was entitled to a royalty on DTL’s sales of phones using its patented technologies.
The lawsuit against AT&T Mobility on behalf of DTL alleged that the telecommunications giant had infringed on a number of DTL’s patented inventions. Specifically, DTL claimed that AT&T breached several of its own patents by including software in its wireless devices that using patented technology without DTL’s permission. The lawsuits also alleged that AT&T failed to obtain DTL’s authorization before distributing phones that infringed DTL’s patents. AT&T was sued in federal court in Maryland, the District of Columbia, and in various states across the United States.
According to Verizon Wireless’ recent SEC filing, the lawsuits are expected to cost the telecommunications company hundreds of millions of dollars. Additionally, the two lawsuits may put a significant dent into the company’s ability to obtain new patents in the future, limiting its ability to obtain licenses for the technology and services that consumers are demanding.
Patent litigation is not always a happy topic for companies and investors. If a patent lawsuit is successful, the plaintiff’s patent rights may be revoked, which could have an effect on the company’s ability to acquire new patents or on the value of its shares of stock.
In the case of Verizon, the lawsuits against Verizon Wireless were brought in response to DTL’s complaint that Verizon violated four patents related to cellular technology. The lawsuits also claimed that Verizon violated another patent related to the distribution of wireless service. Verizon’s use of an IP network to provide networked access to a wireless network, in violation of a patented technology used in earlier products such as the Verizon Wireless phones.
Litigation against Verizon Wireless, which is expected to result from the lawsuits, will cause immediate financial concerns for the company. Verizon Wireless reported that the pending lawsuits against it could ultimately cost it between one and three hundred million dollars in “costs,” primarily related to defense costs. The lawsuits are also expected to lead to the closing of its business if the lawsuits are not resolved prior to their trial date.
Patented technology, whether or not it infringes on someone else’s patent, is a valuable commodity. If a patent can be found to be infringed upon, then there is value in obtaining it before a court decides that there is a valid claim that the patent cannot be infringed upon.
When patents are found to be invalid or unenforceable by the courts, it often makes it difficult for people to obtain patents in the future. Many patent holders decide to abandon the patent and agree to licensing arrangements with those who are willing to license the patented technology.
The litigation is likely to affect the patent holders’ ability to acquire new patents in the future. If a patent is invalidated by the courts, it could severely limit a company’s ability to obtain new patent rights in the future.
Litigation against Verizon Wireless, like other lawsuits against patent holders, may put a significant financial burden on the companies that filed the lawsuits. and may result in substantial judgments against the plaintiffs, limiting their ability to file future patent applications.
The lawsuits against Verizon Wireless, however, may also affect the future value of Verizon’s shares of stock, which have declined over the past several years. In the past few months, shares of Verizon have dropped in response to the lawsuits. If the lawsuits are won, the decline in shares may continue to accelerate and may eventually bring the company’s market cap down further.