Court Tosses Patent Infringement Charges In TRA-Kantar Suit
A U.S. District Court Judge tossed TRA’s patent infringement claims against WPP’s Kantar and other subsidiaries in connection with a two-year-old lawsuit. The suit was triggered when talks between the parties concerning WPP’s possible acquisition of TRA broke down and Kantar launched a competitive service called RapidView.
In a ruling handed down Thursday, Judge Shira Scheindlin also ruled that Kantar et al. did not misappropriate trade secrets as TRA alleged. Scheindlin also rejected TRA’s so-called “frozen market theory,” that Kantar had caused a sharp devaluation of TRA by launching competing products and then bringing suit against the company, making investors wary.
TRA was purchased by TiVo in July of 2012 about a year after the litigation began. TiVo paid about $20 million for the company. Scheindlin noted that TRA was valued at $57 million after a third round of financing in 2010. A fourth round of financing was unsuccessful. TRA argued that its value in July of 2012 would have been $199 million but for the actions of the defendants. Scheindlin ruled that that was “sheer speculation.”
Thursday’s ruling came in response to a request for summary judgment made by Kantar back in June. Scheindlin’s ruling this week did not dispose of the entire case, however. Scheindlin noted that breach of contract and fiduciary duty claims will move forward. Responding to the ruling, TRA said it would request at an upcoming court conference “a trial date for TRA's remaining claims.”
And while Kantar was ruled not to have violated TRA’s patents, Scheindlin ruled moot Kantar’s contention that TRA’s patents were not valid.
TRA, founded in 2007, offers a service that links TV viewing data with actual purchase data. In a statement after the ruling the company said that it “respectfully disagrees with the Court’s decision” that Kantar did not violate its patents or misappropriate its trade secrets. It added that it was “pleased that its asserted claims alleging breach of contract and aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty continue to move towards trial.” The company also said that it would “continue to review its options and to pursue vigorously all of its rights and remedies in this action.”