Judge Gilstrap Partly Upends $506.2M Verdict in PanOptis Case, Ordering New Trial on Damages

April 18, 2021

District Judge Rodney Gilstrap has just overturned the $506.2M damages award returned as part of an August 2020 jury verdict against Apple in standard essential patent (SEP) litigation brought by several subsidiaries of PanOptis Holdings, LLC (collectively, “PanOptis”). The court partly granted Apple’s motion for a new trial, as to damages alone, faulting PanOptis for requesting a separate bench trial for issues related to its fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licensing obligations—and Apple for not objecting to that plan. Due to that bench trial, the jury ultimately set its damages award without hearing any mention of FRAND principles at all, arriving at an unacceptably ambiguous verdict—a result that Judge Gilstrap saw coming.

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