Versata Software, Inc. v. SAP America, Inc.

Addressing a finding of infringement that resulted in a lost-profits and reasonable royalty damages award of more than $300 million, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a lower court’s ruling of infringement and damages, finding that sufficient evidence supported the findings. Versata Software, Inc. v. SAP America, Inc., Case No. 12-1029 (Fed. Cir., May 1, 2013) (Rader, C.J.).

Versata sued SAP in 2007 over two patents that provide particularized pricing data based on factors such as the type of customer, type of product and size of the order. Starting in the mid-1990s Versata sold its software, called Pricer, to many large companies, including as IBM, Lucent and Motorola. SAP began offering software that provided customized pricing as part of its enterprise software in 1998. As acknowledged by the Federal Circuit, when “SAP entered the market by bundling hierarchical pricing into its enterprise software, the market for Pricer disappeared.”

At a first trial, SAP was found to have infringed both patents, but the lower court later granted SAP judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) of non-infringement as to one of the patents and ordered a new trial on damages based on a change in governing law. In a second trial, the jury awarded Versata $260 million in lost profits and $85 million in reasonable royalties. Further, the district court permanently enjoined SAP from continuing to sell its customized pricing software. Predictably, SAP appealed.

SAP argued to the Federal Circuit that its accused products did not infringe and that, in any event, the lost-profits and royalties damages, as well as the permanent injunction, should be set aside as improper for various reasons. On the infringement issue, SAP argued that it could not infringe because its software is not capable of performing the necessary tasks (required by the claims) without additional computer instructions. As for damages, SAP argued that the lost profits and reasonable royalty damages were improperly calculated as a matter of law and should be set aside. SAP also argued that the injunction was overbroad in that it would prevent the company from offering maintenance and additional licenses to previously existing users.

As to the issue of infringement, the Federal Circuit found sufficient evidence to support the jury’s verdict of infringement. The Court noted that the record “clearly support the jury’s conclusion that SAP’s accused products infringe the asserted claims without modification or additional computer instructions.”

In considering SAP’s arguments on damages, the Federal Circuit rejected some of SAP’s arguments on lost profits damages noting that they should have been raised under a Daubert challenge. The Court found that sufficient evidence supported the jury’s damages findings on lost-profits and reasonable royalty damages.

However, the Federal Circuit agreed that the permanent injunction as entered was overbroad and remanded the case to the district court for modification of the injunction.