Verdicts rendered by the jury in the trial that began Nov. 27 and concluded Thursday in the U.S. District Court of Northern Iowa, located in Cedar Rapids, were inconsistent with two previous decisions. The same patents in question previously were ruled valid by two U.S. District Court decisions and affirmed by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., said Jay T. Edwards, president of CMI.
The trial was initiated by CMI in 1986, charging Cedarapids Inc. with infringing on CMI's patented system of recycling asphalt paving materials in manufacturing competitive road asphalt plants. It is one of five patent infringement lawsuits filed by CMI.
The jury has been ordered to return Feb. 26 to hear evidence to determine damages against CMI. Non-jury defense issues have been presented to the court and more will be presented Feb. 20 by CMI to challenge the trial results, Edwards said.
"A patent is either valid or invalid. The (U.S.) Patent Office had declared the patents valid. The courts had examined the patents and ruled them valid. The defendants in the two prior cases appealed, it went to the appellate court, the appellate court upheld the patents valid and sent it back for damage calculations. So, we were all pretty much shocked and surprised at the jury's verdict in Cedar Rapids," Edwards said.
"When we filed against them on our patents, they counterfiled against us with some old patents they had. Their patents, they had not used that technology since 1980. They essentially had abandoned that technology, so it was our feeling at the time that it was just a ruse to complicate and confound the trial, which it certainly was successful in doing.
"Another thing you have to appreciate is that when you sue a company for violating your patents, you normally go to their home territory. So, we were in Cedar Rapids with an Iowa jury.
"The judge presented the case to the jury not in just `Are the facts valid or are they not valid?' - not in two questions. …