Court Tosses Infringement Claims In Kantar-TRA Suit

by , Dec 2, 2013, 8:37 AM
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A U.S. District Court Judge tossed TRA’s patent infringement claims against WPP’s Kantar and several sibling companies last week. The suit was triggered in 2011 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 Tuesday, Nov. 25, Judge Shira Scheindlin also ruled that Kantar did not misappropriate trade secrets as TRA alleged. Scheindlin also rejected TRA’s so-called “frozen market” claim 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. 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 nearly $200 million but for the actions of the defendants. Scheindlin ruled that TRA’s “frozen market theory” rested largely on speculation and lacked evidence.

Tuesday’s ruling was the second time in two months that Scheindlin tossed the infringement, trade secrets and frozen market theory claims made by TRA. She issued a similar ruling in October but then retracted it after TRA protested that Scheindlin had apparently forgotten that she had promised TRA the opportunity to lay out its case in an oral argument.

Soon thereafter Scheindlin rescinded her initial decision and scheduled an oral hearing. But apparently TRA’s verbal presentation wasn’t terribly persuasive. Her ruling this week largely echoed her October decision.

Scheindlin’s ruling didn’t dismiss all of TRA’s claims, however. Still to be ruled on are breach of contract and fiduciary duty charges. A hearing has been scheduled for later this month to discuss whether the remaining claims should be remanded to a New York State Court.

Both TRA and WPP declined to comment on the court ruling.

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