A New Jersey jury last week ordered insurance data services firm Verisk to pay $125 million to aerial imaging firm EagleView for lost profits linked to Verisk infringing on various EagleView patents.
The jury verdict in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey found Verisk and its Xactware Solutions unit willfully infringed EagleView’s proprietary intellectual property and upheld EagleView’s technological innovations.
The court has also issued a temporary restraining order stopping Verisk’s sale of certain products including Property InSight, Roof InSight, Geomni Roof and Geomni Property, as well as the sale or use of Aerial Sketch version 2, after Sept. 25, 2019. This order will be in effect until Oct. 8, 2019, when the court will hold a hearing on a permanent injunction.
The court actions follow years of legal and public relations wrangling between the two rivals after an effort by Verisk to acquire EagleView for $650 million failed in 2014 when the Federal Trade Commission challenged the acquisition citing antitrust concerns.
Verisk had sought to buy EagleView’s property image library that covers about 90 percent of U.S. structures in order to enhance its offerings to insurers and government customers.
“EagleView is the dominant company and Verisk is the only meaningful competitor,” in the industry, Deborah Feinstein, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, told Bloomberg on why it challenged the deal. “Verisk’s entry into the market has provided a lower-priced alternative to customers. If this transaction goes through, insurance carriers, and ultimately consumers, face the risk of higher prices.”
EagleView said the patents involved in the case are among the more than 200 patents in its portfolio.
Xactware and Verisk opposed letting EagleView’s claims reach a jury trial and questioned EagleView’s patents with the U.S. Patent Office. EagleView said the U.S. Patent Office has upheld 149 of its patented technology claims.
“We understand that the ongoing litigation has been a distraction to our customers, and we thank them for standing beside us as we were forced to protect our IP and technology in court,” said Rishi Daga, CEO of EagleView. “Today’s decision allows us to continue serving all customers. We look forward to continuing to drive innovation via providing data analytics derived from aerial imagery and bringing impactful solutions and superior customer service to our c, lients across insurance, roofing, energy and government.”
When contacted by Insurance Journal, Verisk issued a statement saying it “is disappointed with the outcome of this case and is exploring all available legal options.”
Verisk has complained in the past about patent trolls and in 2019 joined the LOT Network, a nonprofit that fights patent abuse. The LOT Network has about 300 members, including Microsoft, Google, Amazon, GM, Target, and Uber. According to the group, patent trolls buy patents or apply for patents for technology and processes that are often long-standing and commonly used and then aggressively litigate to generate revenue.
The purchase of EagleView would have advanced Verisk’s our position in the imagery analytics market, adding new municipal and commercial customers. The insurance and construction industries use EagleView’s technology and drones to obtain detailed roof and wall measurements from aerial imagery.
EagleView is the parent company of Pictometry International Corp. and has offices in Rochester, New York, and Bothell, Washington.
Kirkland & Ellis and Walsh Pizzi O’Reilly Falanga, co-counsel, represented EagleView in the litigation and patent proceedings.
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