Judge Hearing Motions Today In Akamai/Limelight Case: Various Potential Outcomes

At 10am EST this morning, Federal Judge Rya Zobel started hearing oral arguments for at least ten motions and counter motions pertaining to the Akamai and Limelight Networks patent infringement case. Clearly, the biggest argument at stake today is whether or not the court will issue a ruling in Akamai’s favor, by granting a permanent injunction against Limelight Networks. While many are saying the judge will make no decisions today, there is a chance that some rulings could be made. I will be updating the blog today as soon as I hear either way. With so many motions being heard today and it being an all day affair, I expect we won’t hear anything either way until after 4pm EST.

The most likely outcome is that the judge needs more time after hearing the arguments and pushes back the ruling date by a few months. However, with at least ten motions and counter motions being heard today, there is a good chance that some rulings will come down. Judge Rya Zobel has been working on this case for two years now, and has also been involved in some of the previous Akamai patent infringement cases (including those against Speedera and Cable & Wireless), so there is the potential that she has enough info after hearing the oral arguments today to make a ruling.

While a lot is up in the air today, here are some potential ways this can play out for both sides:

  • The judge issues no ruling on the injunction and pushes the ruling date back to Q4 of this year.
  • The judge could rule that the Akamai patent is too broad and throw out the jury’s ruling.
  • The judge could narrow the scope of Akamai’s patent and could reduce the damages that the jury awarded.
  • The judge grants Akamai’s request for an injunction against Limelight Networks as is, or potentially narrows down the scope of the Akamai claim.
  • If an injunction is handed down, Limelight could get a stay on the injunction, which pushes Limelight’s appeal process out to 18-24 months from now, or does not grant Limelight the stay, in which case about 50% of Limelights business is at stake.
  • If the judge issues an injunction against Limelight, and the stay is not granted, Limelight could also issue a statement saying they have a work-around to the patent and have reduced their company’s liability.

One other potential outcome, which has a good chance of happening, is that the judge rules that some of the motions around the patent are too broad and that the case should go to a higher court. In many patent cases, this happens quite frequently.

Either way, one thing to remember is that Limelight has known about this suit for two years now and I’m sure has not been sitting around doing nothing. Two years is a long time to be able to come up with a work-around and on the last earnings call, Limelight did say that on their Q3 earnings call, they would give shareholders an update on where they stand in regards to their infrastructure. While they did not come right out and say the word "work-around", that is what they plan on giving an update on at the end of the third quarter.