Comcast gets retrial in $27.6M Sprint patent suit; also gets $20B discrimination suit tossed

Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) appears to be riding a streak of good fortune in federal courts. The company has managed to sidestep two court cases that would have cost the company a total of $47.6 million.

First, according to court papers obtained by Multichannel News, a Delaware federal judge voided a February verdict that ruled that Comcast owed Sprint $27.6 million for infringing on Sprint patents relating to fiber optic delivery.

U.S. District Judge Richard G. Andrews ruled that Sprint presented the jury with "incorrect" theory on patent infringement, and Comcast will get a new trial in the matter. 

"Sprint presented an incorrect infringement theory to the jury, which may have 'unfairly influenced the verdict,'" the judge said in the court papers, according to Multichannel.  "Therefore, allowing the verdict to stand would result in 'a miscarriage of justice.' It follows that Comcast is entitled to a new trial on the issue of infringement."

Separately, a California judge threw out a $20 billion suit that accused of Comcast and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) of racial discrimination in how the MSOs licensing cable programming. 

In February, the National Association of African-American Owned Media and Entertainment Studios Network, a firm owned by producer-entertainer Byron Allen, accused Comcast of keeping Al Sharpton's daily show on its MSNBC cable network, despite terrible ratings, in order to secure public support for initiatives including Comcast's $45.2 billion takeover bid of TWC.

The group's 71-page suit also said Comcast and TWC "collectively spend approximately $25 billion" annually to license and market programming networks, but less than $3 million of that money goes to networks that are "100 percent African-American-owned."

Judge Terry Hatter Jr. ruled, however, that the plaintiffs "failed to allege any plausible claim for relief."

For more
- read this Multichannel News story
- read this Hollywood Reporter story
- read this Deadline Hollywood story

Related articles:
Comcast's NBCU confirms it won't run advertisements for Dish's Sling TV
Comcast accused of astroturfing alongside Al Sharpton in $20M discrimination suit
Delaware court says Comcast owes Sprint $27.6M for patent infringement


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