The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on July 25 vacated the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia's injunction and contempt orders against Lawson Software, and instructed the lower court to dismiss the procurement software patent litigation case brought by ePlus Inc.
"We are pleased that we have prevailed in this long and arduous case," said Gregory Giangiordano, Infor senior vice president and general counsel. "Where other software companies chose to acquiesce to ePlus' litigation demands and settle meritless claims, Lawson-now Infor-on principle, decided to contest ePlus' patent claims and stand up against the anticompetitive tactics that ePlus employed through the court system. This victory is for Infor, our customers, and for the industry."
When ePlus commenced this lengthy litigation in 2009, it alleged infringement of multiple claims of three patents, all but one claim of which was found to be noninfringed or invalid by a jury in 2011, or by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in a 2012 decision. In November 2013, the Federal Circuit unanimously affirmed a finding by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that ePlus' sole remaining patent claim also was invalid, following which the claim was canceled.
With the last remaining ePlus patent claim canceled, the federal appeals court ruled July 25 that "there is no longer any legal basis" for the injunction to continue, and that the civil contempt award "must be set aside." The federal appeals court returned the case to the lower court "with instructions to dismiss."
When the case is formally dismissed by the District Court, Lawson will have prevailed in every aspect of this litigation; the civil contempt award will be eliminated, and Lawson, which was purchased by Infor, will be free to sell, market, service, and support its procurement software without the threat of further efforts to disrupt its market position.