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AT&T Owes $166M for Patent Infringement

Business

AT&T logo | Image by Jonathan Weiss

AT&T Mobility LLC has been ordered to pay $166.3 million in damages for violating the patent rights of Utah-based Finesse Wireless LLC.

In 2021, patent-holding company Finesse filed a lawsuit against AT&T, arguing that the Dallas-based telecommunications company had illegally integrated Finesse’s patented technology into its cell towers, which are built using Nokia-made equipment. Nokia intervened in the case.

On Friday, an East Texas federal court jury found that AT&T had infringed on two of Finesse’s patents with its 4G/LTE and 5G wireless networks.

The January 13 ruling sparked mixed reactions from defendant AT&T, intervenor Nokia, and plaintiff Finesse.

According to court documents, the jury found that AT&T networks had violated two patents owned by Finesse related to reducing wireless-signal interference. The trial was overseen by Judge Rodney Gilstrap.

AT&T and Nokia both opposed the verdict and said they were considering an appeal, according to a joint statement. In a statement following the jury’s decision, Joe Grinstein, lead attorney for Finesse, said the firm was pleased with the verdict.

“Our team is very proud that the jury saw that our client’s technology was being used by AT&T without permission,” said Andrea Fair of Ward, Smith & Hill, the other firm representing Finesse.

Finesse’s patented technology is designed to reduce interference from signals that could lead to dropped calls, lower voice quality, and slower data delivery. The issue at the heart of the case was whether AT&T and Nokia violated Finesse’s patented technology by using the Utah-based company’s tech in AT&T’s cell towers.

AT&T and Nokia denied the allegations, but the jury ultimately rejected their arguments after deliberating for less than three hours.

In a statement, AT&T said it disagreed with the jury’s finding. “We continue to believe that the technology involved in this case is unique and proprietary to Nokia. We are considering our options, including whether to appeal this decision,” the statement said.

Ericsson and Verizon Wireless settled related disputes with Finesse last year.

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