The US Court of Appeals has cleared Cisco Systems of infringement charges in an eight-year-old case. The ruling ended the patent dispute and effectively reversed the previous $64m (£42m, €57m) judgement.
The Appeals Court for the Federal Circuit stated on 28 December that Cisco was not liable for any patent infringement – held by Texas-based Commil USA – in its efforts to spread wireless internet signals over vast areas.
According to Reuters, the general counsel of Cisco Mark Chandler said: "The patent never had anything to do with our products and the millions of dollars spent defending this unmeritorious suit are a travesty."
Court documents suggest that following Commil's purchase of the patent from an Israeli company, it sued Cisco for infringement. However, the California-headquartered company maintained that it was a case of "non-practising entity", stating that such companies generate income via licence and purchase of patents instead of developing new products.
The initial verdict in 2011 was in favour of Commil USA, where the local company was to receive almost $63.8m (£42.8m, €58.1m) in damages. An additional $10.3m (£6.9m, €9.4m) was added on to the total as interest.
In 2013, the technology giant filed an appeal against the verdict at a Federal Circuit court in Washington DC, where it declared that Cisco should have been given the opportunity to defend the case on a "good faith belief" that Commil's patent was baseless.
However, a few months later, the case was presented in the Supreme Court, where it ruled that Cisco's defence was unfounded and asked the Federal court to give its verdict. A three-judge panel then reviewed Cisco's arguments and postulated that evidence opposed the 2011 verdict.
Ruling in favour of Cisco, the Federal panel said: "Substantial evidence did not support the jury's findings."