Wi-LAN, Inc. v. LG Elecs., Inc.

LG took a license from Wi-LAN’s predecessor for a patent concerning V-chip technology for ratings-based blocking of television programs. LG subsequently claimed that it owed no royalties because its televisions did not practice Wi-LAN’s technology. Wi-LAN forwarded to LG a letter written by outside counsel (Townsend), naming Wi-LAN’s general counsel and vice president, as addressee. It was marked “CONFIDENTIAL” and contained analysis of Wi-LAN’s patent rights as applied to LG’s technology, opining that LG was practicing Wi-LAN’s technology and owed royalties. Wi-LAN’s disclosure of the letter was an intentional effort to convince LG to revise its position and pay royalties. Wi-LAN later sued for patent infringement, identifying Townsend as litigation counsel. LG served a subpoena on Townsend for documents and testimony relating to the subject matter of the letter, claiming that any privilege was absolutely waived by voluntary disclosure of the letter. Townsend unsuccessfully argued that any waiver should be limited to the letter. The district court found Townsend in contempt, and entered sanctions in the amount of LG’s costs and fees. The Federal Circuit vacated and remanded. The district court erred by rejecting considerations of fairness: whether LG would be unfairly prejudiced by assertion of privilege beyond the four corners of the letter. View "Wi-LAN, Inc. v. LG Elecs., Inc." on Justia Law