Georgia readers may not be aware that ViaSat has been in court for a little over two years since filing a lawsuit against Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) and Loral Space and Communications (LSC) in February 2012. The complaint alleged breach of contract and patent infringement. A federal jury recently awarded ViaSat damages in the amount of $283 million.
ViaSat holds three patents regarding the creation of a high-capacity satellite system called ViaSat-1. ViaSat and SS/L had a manufacturing contract along with non-disclosure agreements related to the satellite system. ViaSat claimed in its lawsuit that SS/L infringed on those patents and violated the terms of the contract and the non-disclosure agreements.
As is evidenced by the verdict, the jury agreed with ViaSat. In doing so, it also verified that ViaSat invented the technology that was the subject of the lawsuit. However, other issues still need to be ruled upon by the court, including a request to impose a permanent injunction on SS/L to prohibit the company from manufacturing or selling satellites or components of the satellites that are the subject of the infringed patents. The decisions the court makes could ultimately change the amount awarded by the jury.
Intellectual property is an important part of most business around the country. There may come a time when a Georgia company enters into a contract wherein the other party has access to that intellectual property. Often, as was the case with ViaSat, a non-disclosure agreement is signed. If the other party violates the terms of either or both of the agreements, the company has the right to file a breach of contract suit, seeking both monetary and non-monetary damages as appropriate.
Source: spacedaily.com, “ViaSat Awarded Damages in Patent Infringement and Breach of Contract Lawsuit Against Space Systems/Loral“, , April 29, 2014