Since 2009, The Daily Journal has included Bob Van Nest on its list of California's Top 75 Intellectual Property Litigators. This year, he was chosen for his victories on behalf of Google and HTC, which are summarized below.
Oracle asserted patent and copyright claims seeking $6 billion in damages and an injunction forcing Google to change the way it used and distributed the Android operating system, which powers 300 million smartphones and tablet computers. Prior to trial, as a result of motions made by the KVN team, the patent case was narrowed from seven to two patents and the damages claim was reduced to less than $100 million. Following rounds of motions and briefing, the judge dismissed the bulk of Oracle’s copyright claims, and at trial the jury unanimously rejected all patent infringement claims. The sweeping victory for Google with zero damages, confirmed the legal rules applicable to APIs and open-source software development. Had Oracle succeeded, software companies and developers everywhere would have been subject to lawsuits, innovation would have been thwarted, and the cost to produce new software applications would have significantly escalated.
Mr. Van Nest served as lead counsel for HTC, a Taiwan-based manufacturer of handheld devices, in its billion dollar battle with Apple over smartphone technology. Apple sued HTC in district court and before the International Trade Commission (ITC), claiming HTC had infringed on 20 patents related to various computer-related technologies, including user interfaces, operating systems, power management, and digital signal processing. The ITC hearing that went to decision resulted in a favorable ruling, and in 2012, HTC obtained a settlement to become the first Android handset maker licensed by Apple.