Dallas-based AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) has lost a $40 million patent infringement lawsuit after its lawyers failed to read key documents in time to file an appeal. An appeals court concluded that the giant wireless company missed the 30-day timeframe to appeal against an earlier ruling that had found it guilty of infringing on a patent for tracking technology.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) on its defense maintains it was an ‘excusable neglect’, but the court on its interpretation affirms that the 18 staff team could have seen the document but yet did not. The appeals court sided with the initial ruling by a Texas district judge, Orlando Garcia, who found AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) to have infringed on Two-Media patents.
Two- Media had filed a lawsuit in 2009 alleging that the company infringed on its patents related to Internet media and streaming. In 2013, a ruling was handed, and the company was fined $27.5 million in damages for infringing on two of the patents.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) filed a motion in October last year asking Judge Garcia to upend the court ruling, a request that was denied the next month. Lawyers from both companies had received email notices of the court filing where labels were updated with descriptions of the underlying orders a few days later. AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) lawyers discovered the court orders 51 days later after the 30-day appeal window had expired.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) lawyers say they failed to file an appeal because they did not receive notice of the appeal window due to lack of email notification even thought there was a document indicating the appeal had been posted on government websites.
The $40 million loss comes on the heels of AT&T being kicked out of the blue chip index, the, Dow consequently replaced by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). The wireless company had been part of the index since 1916.
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