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TRA-Kantar Judge Does a 180 on Infringement Claims

23 Oct, 2013 By: Doug McPherson

NEW YORK – U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin has issued a reversal in the TiVo Research and Analysis’ (TRA) patent infringement lawsuit against WPP’s Kantar and related entities.

On Oct. 3, she delivered an order that tossed out much of TRA’s suit against WPP – a suit that accused WPP of misappropriating TRA’s patents and trade secrets to create a competitor service called RapidView.

Two weeks later Scheindlin ordered that decision withdrawn. The latest ruling, issued last week, also directed the Westlaw and LexisNexis services to erase her earlier ruling from their databases. The judge has given no explanation for her reversal.

That reversal came a week after TRA asked the judge to reconsider. The TV audience research company owned by TiVo asserted Scheindlin's initial ruling was flawed with "erroneous conclusions." TRA also said Scheindlin forgot to hold an oral hearing before issuing her initial order that she had previously okayed and that the company said would have helped it clarify a number of its arguments. By not holding the oral argument TRA had been deprived of a “full opportunity to be heard,” the company said last week.

The original order came in response to Kantar’s request in June for a summary judgment that Kantar hoped would dismiss the case before trial. The judge’s Oct. 3 order eliminated many of TRA’s allegations and ruled then that Kantar had not infringed on TRA patents nor had it misappropriated any TRA trade secrets. She also ruled that Kantar was not responsible for a devaluation of TRA resulting in a $20 million purchase price for TiVo last year.

TRA said that but for anti-competitive actions of Kantar it would have been worth closer to 10 times that amount. Scheindlin ruled that assertion was “sheer speculation.” Scheindlin let stand breach of contract and fiduciary duty claims for which TRA said it would request a trial.

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