Voxer v. Meta + Ravgen v. Lab. Corp. Verdicts & Updated Texas IP Trial Tracker

It’s been a busy couple weeks for those following patent trials in the Western District of Texas!

First, on Wednesday came the jury’s verdict in Austin, in Voxer, Inc. v. Meta Platforms, Inc. This was the first patent trial before Judge Yeakel in the post-COVID timeframe during which we’ve been compiling our Texas IP Trial Tracker. The trial was overall an eight-day proceeding, rolling over from the week prior: voir dire Monday 9/12; openings Tuesday 9/13; close of evidence Monday 9/19; summations Tuesday 9/20; and verdict Wednesday 9/21. The jury’s verdict found that Meta’s Facebook Live and Instagram Live products infringed six asserted claims from Voxer’s two asserted patents; that the sole patent for which validity was tried was not invalid; and that Voxer was entitled to its full damages demand of $174.5 running-royalty damages. (Before sending the case to the jury, Judge Yeakel granted judgment as a matter of law in Meta’s favor with respect to Voxer’s allegations of willful infringement.)

The Voxer-Meta case might be viewed as something of a forerunner to the more recent judicial assignment regime established by Judge Garcia’s July 25 order, in that this case arrived in Austin by way of Waco. Specifically, Plaintiff Voxer commenced suit in Waco in January 2020. In June 2020 Judge Albright denied Meta’s (then Facebook’s) motion to transfer to N.D. Cal., but granted Facebook’s motion-in-the-alternative to transfer to the Austin Division—though he kept the case on his own docket for several months. (Facebook did not seek further relief on the venue front from the Federal Circuit.) Then in November 2021 Judge Albright reassigned the case from his own docket to Judge Yeakel’s, following which it subsequently proceeded to trial. (That analogy goes only so far, as under Judge Garcia’s order, in the absence of a formal transfer all patent cases filed in Waco will still be tried in Waco, regardless of the assigned judge.)

Judge Yeakel did not enable any form of remote observation of the trial (at least not for the public), but the courtroom was open for either nearly all or all of the proceedings. The blog also again thanks Jacob Porter for his assistance.

Second, earlier today a Waco jury returned in the Ravgen v. Lab. Corp. case (which we previewed here) with another clean-sweep victory for the plaintiff’s side. The jury found that Defendant Lab. Corp. willfully infringed Plaintiff’s Ravgen’s sole asserted (as tried) patent claim, and awarded Ravgen its full damages demand of just under $272.5 million.

By our count, Ravgen-Lab. Corp. was the 18th patent trial over which Judge Albright has presided since taking the bench (including both the SunStone v. IBM case that settled during trial, and VLSI-Intel III, which was interrupted by a mid-trial COVID diagnosis). Of those 18 cases, 15 involved what are traditionally described as “high-tech” patents; two concerned oil-and-gas; and this was the first biotech-related case that made it to trial. (For those interested, Ravgen’s asserted patent claim was directed to a method for “determining the sequence of a locus of interest on free fetal DNA,” involving a “cell lysis inhibitor … selected from glutaraldehyde, formaldehyde and formalin.”)

So that’s it for these busy last couple of weeks. Here’s the corresponding set of updates to our Texas IP trial tracker (also including recent results from other TX jurisdictions):


(See Excel for Table)