But UEI Says ‘It is Not Over’
For the last couple of years, there has been a running court battle between two of the titans of the remote control category: Universal Electronics, Inc. (UEI) and Universal Remote Control, Inc. (URC). Today, one of them, URC, announced victory in the first of two pending patent infringement lawsuits that was originally filed in 2012.
URC claimed a complete victory – but Strata-gee.com has received a statement from UEI who says, in effect, not so fast – this dispute is far from over.
See what URC claims the court said…and why UEI cautions not to jump to conclusions…
URC’s press release was distributed first thing this morning and claimed “a complete victory” over the UEI suit started over two years ago. The suit, in which UEI claimed that four of its patents had been infringed upon by URC, went to trial this month with the jury issuing a verdict in favor of URC.
According to URC, they scored an early victory in February 2013, when the judge in the case determined that the violations asserted with respect to one of the patents was invalid. Then in March of this year, URC won a summary judgment motion that dismissed claims tied to two of the other patents.
Momentum seems to be in URC’s favor…
Then earlier this month on May 21st, a jury found in URC’s favor in the matter of the remaining patent issue. Not only that, but according to URC, the jury found that three of the four patents that UEI sought to enforce were in-and-of-themselves invalid – apparently due the technology existing prior to the issuance of UEI’s patents.
We reached out to UEI to verify the contents of the URC release and while we were unable to speak with anyone directly on the matter – we were provided a statement by the company which suggested that these matters are far from over.
UEI provides Strata-gee with a statement on this issue…
UEI’s statement reminded us that there are two patent lawsuits pending, and even in the case of this first one – though in the wake of the jury finding – is not yet over.
“…while UEI received an unfavorable jury verdict in the first case, it is not over,” the company statement reads. “The judge in the first case has not entered the verdict at this point as he will be asked to rule on several motions which will not likely be decided until late summer or early fall.”
We made multiple attempts to speak with UEI executives to get clarification on just what the path forward is for them. If the court has in fact invalidated these patents, there could be lingering issues for UEI as it is possible that these patents were licensed by them to other companies. This would put future royalty payments in doubt.
Not over yet…
However, since we were unsuccessful in speaking with anyone at UEI prior to publishing this report, our questions must go unanswered for the time being. But clearly, these two adversaries are not done with each other just yet.
URC claims that the jury in this case found UEI guilty of “patent misuse and unclean hands.” URC says it plans to ask the court to award them attorney’s fees and other costs associated with this suit, based on the jury’s findings.
Looking forward to the next round…
For its part, UEI is looking forward to their other suit, where “there are currently 10 additional UEI patents at issue and UEI looks forward to seeking resolution either via settlement, or via a favorable court ruling in that case.”
So stay tuned folks, the bell signaling Round 2 is just about to ring.
To see more about URC and their products, visit: www.universalremote.com.
Learn more about UEI and their line at: www.uei.com.