Godfrey | Johnson Wins Patent Infringement Jury Verdict
July 3, 2016
Denver, Colorado. At the close of a two-week jury trial, Brett Godfrey and his trial team obtained a defense verdict on a patent infringement claim made against a Wyoming corporation known as In-Situ, Inc., which manufactures the world’s most advanced water quality monitoring equipment. Read about Godfrey | Johnson, P.C.’s Intellectual Property practice area.
The suit was brought against In-Situ, Inc., by Hach Co., a much larger competitor, which alleged that In-Situ had infringed Hach’s exclusive license to a patent relating to water quality monitoring instrumentation. The technology at issue in the dispute relates to the use of principles of subatomic physics to measure the phase shift of light absorbed and re-emitted by chemical films in order to calculate oxygen levels in bodies of water. In-Situ manufactures probes that gather and record a variety of parameters relating to the health of lakes, streams and underground water tables – an essential tool in maintaining the health of the global environment.
The nature of the claims brought by Hach included the allegation that it was the holder of a worldwide exclusive license to the patented technology. Hach sought financial damages consisting of lost profits and royalty payments, as well as a declaration from the court that it had an ongoing exclusive right to utilize the patented technology. “In-Situ is a company dedicated to the protection of global water supplies,” said Godfrey. “The technology developed by this innovative corporation has no equal in the industry, and we’re glad we could prevent the company from being hampered by a legal threat to their intellectual property.” During the trial, Godfrey equated In-Situ’s technology to that which is described in Star Trek.
Defense attorney Brett Godfrey presented testimony from the inventor of the patent and an expert with a doctorate in analytical chemistry, and cross-examined a number of other Ph.D. experts in chemistry in order to demonstrate that the technology covered by the patent was different from what was covered in Hach’s license agreement.
“Trying this case required us to understand complex principles of chemistry and physics as well as business and marketing,” Godfrey said. “We were fortunate that our jury consisted of truly intelligent people, which made presenting the case much easier.”
Godfrey | Johnson’s attorneys also employed state-of-the-art courtroom technology to present the case and for jury selection, including digital tablets to manage thousands of pages of exhibits and testimony. Godfrey’s trial team included attorneys Karen Porter and Aaron Hayden, two of the firm’s trial attorneys. Godfrey also argued that the license owned by Hach had become non-exclusive due to late payments made by Hach.
The trial, which was held in the United States District Court in Denver, lasted for two full weeks. All ten members of the jury voted unanimously in favor of Godfrey | Johnson’s client, In-Situ, Inc., after deliberating for several hours. The case had been pending for more than two years.