D.C. Law Firm's Big BlackBerry Payday
Saturday, March 18, 2006
It's payday for District law firm Wiley Rein & Fielding LLP, which will collect more than $200 million in fees from representing NTP Inc. in its patent-infringement lawsuit against the maker of BlackBerry wireless e-mail devices.
That payment would be more than the firm's annual revenue, which according to American Lawyer magazine totaled $140 million in 2004.
The firm took the case on contingency in 2001 and helped litigate successfully against Research in Motion Ltd., a Waterloo, Ontario-based company that makes and has sold the BlackBerry to more than 4 million subscribers.
Wiley Rein's patent team, led by founding partner James Wallace and Kevin Anderson, won a jury verdict for NTP of McLean in 2002. But because the firm took the case on contingency, payment was deferred until the conclusion of the case.
RIM then lost the case on appeal and settled it for $612.5 million earlier this month to avert a possible shutdown of the popular service.
The amount of the law firm's payment was reported this week in Legal Times and was confirmed by a source close to the private deal struck between Wiley and NTP. Donald Stout, the only surviving founder of NTP, was not available for comment. The other founder, Thomas Campana, died of cancer in 2004.
The remainder of the settlement will be distributed among Stout, Campana's estate and about 20 investors in the company.