Alton Absher III focuses his practice in patent litigation, licensing, and proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and International Trade Commission. He has significant experience in all phases of litigation, including trials and appeals. Most recently, Mr. Absher was a member of the trial team representing GREE, Inc. in a series of patent infringement suits against Supercell, resulting in over $100 million in jury verdicts in GREE’s favor following two jury trials in 2020 and 2021. Mr. Absher represents clients in a wide range of technologies, including computer hardware and software, smartphones, and telecommunications standards.
Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Absher was a Unix Systems Engineer for Lowe's Companies, Inc. While with Lowe's, he engineered integrated hardware and software solutions for approximately 1,000 retail locations and designed, tested and implemented a security system that involved customizing open-source software. He also wrote low-level software to interface numerous peripheral devices with point-of-sale systems and was a member of a team that developed a Linux point-of-sale system.
Mr. Absher was recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® for Intellectual Property Litigation in 2022 and for Patent Litigation and Intellectual Property Litigation in 2023. He was named a North Carolina "Rising Star" in 2017 and the four years immediately preceding for Intellectual Property Law by Super Lawyers magazine. Mr. Absher was also recognized as a 2013 "Legal Elite" by Business North Carolina magazine in the area of Intellectual Property Law. While at Wake Forest University, he was a recipient of the Law Faculty Scholarship.
Representing GREE, Inc., a Japanese gaming and internet media company in a large-scale patent battle with Supercell, a Finnish mobile game development company. Kilpatrick Townsend launched suits involving more than 20 patents against Supercell. The case has led to a complex series of litigations in district court resulting in more than $100 million in jury verdicts in favor of GREE, as well as at the PTAB and before the Federal Circuit. The Kilpatrick Townsend team obtained a jury verdict for GREE in the Eastern District of Texas of willful infringement, asserting five patents and an award of at least $8.5 million for damages against Supercell in September 2020, and a second jury verdict of willful infringement in favor of GREE and an award of at least $92 million in damages in May 2021. GREE, Inc. v. Supercell Oy, Nos. 2:19-cv-00237, 2:19-cv-00310, 2:19-cv-00311, 2:19-cv-00070, 2:19-cv-00071 (E.D. Tex.) (Judge Gilstrap).
Represented Delta Air Lines and United Airlines in a patent infringement litigation in the Eastern District of Texas. The plaintiff asserted patents related to secure online transactions against Delta, United, and several other defendants. Case settled. (Judge Gilstrap). Stambler v. Atmos Energy Corp., et al., No. 10-594 (E.D. Tex. filed Dec. 28, 2010).
Represented Wachovia Bank, Branch Banking & Trust Company, M&T Bank and Comerica Bank against DataTreasury in patent infringement suits in the Eastern District of Texas. The patents at issue involved various technologies, including telecommunications, electronic payment and clearing systems, software, business methods, and electrical and mechanical devices. The plaintiff in these cases sued more than 40 defendants, including many leading banks and financial institutions. Cases settled in 2009 and 2010 shortly before trial. DataTreasury Corp. v. Wachovia Corp., et al., No. 05-0293 (E.D. Tex. filed June 28, 2005) and DataTreasury Corp. v. Wells Fargo & Co., et al., No. 06-0072 (E.D. Tex. filed Feb. 24, 2006). (Judge Folsom).
Represented large financial institution in a patent infringement suit filed by a financial institution services company related to online banking technology. The case settled favorably shortly before trial.
Represented Cisco in a patent infringement litigation in the Eastern District of Virginia. The plaintiff asserted 11 patents related to encryption and network hardware technology against Cisco and several other defendants. In connection with defending Cisco, we performed significant analysis on the network hardware at issue. The court stayed the case for all defendants except for IBM, which was successful in getting summary judgment of non-infringement and on appeal. TecSec, Inc. v. IBM Corp., et al., No. 1:10-cv-115 (E.D. Va. filed Feb. 5, 2010).
Represented Manhattan Associates in a patent infringement litigation in the District of Massachusetts. The plaintiff asserted a patent related to supply chain software against Manhattan Associates and several other defendants. Case settled. (Judge Young). Sky Technologies LLC v. Microsoft Corp., et al., No. 1:11-cv-10833 (D. Mass. filed May 11, 2011).
Represented amicus curiae The Financial Services Roundtable in pending appeal involving the proper standard for direct patent infringement when separate actors each perform different steps of a method claim. Akamai Technologies, Inc. et al v. Limelight Networks, Inc., Fed. Cir. Appeal No. 2009-1372.
Represented a major North American bank in a suit alleging infringement of two patents relating to methods for authenticating information and parties in online banking transactions. The plaintiff has sued approximately 30 banks and financial institutions in the action and has filed companion cases against many of the defendants’ third party vendors. Case settled.
Defended a California-based boutique, high-end, pet lifestyle company, in a patent suit relating to car pet seats. The litigation proceeded through early stages of discovery before we reached a favorable settlement.
Represented Red Hat, Inc., Amazon.com, SoftLayer Technologies, Rackspace, Whole Foods, The Planet.com Internet Services, and NYSE Euronext in a patent infringement litigation regarding caching functionality in the Linux operating system in the Eastern District of Texas. A favorable settlement occurred shortly before trial. Bedrock Computer Technologies, LLC v. SoftLayer Technologies Inc., et al., No. 06-269 (E.D. Tex. filed June 16, 2009) and Red Hat Inc. v. Bedrock Computer Technologies, LLC, No. 09-549 (E.D. Tex. filed Dec. 9, 2009). (Judge Davis and Magistrate Judge John Love).
Defended Motorola Mobility LLC against a suit that Intellectual Ventures filed in the District of Delaware accusing certain smartphones and tablets of infringing six different patents. The case team won one of the patents on summary judgment, tried three others to a jury resulting in a hung jury and mistrial, and then won two of those three patents on post-trial motions. The firm tried another patent to a second jury resulting in a verdict of non-infringement and invalidity. Intellectual Ventures I LLC, et al. v. Motorola Mobility, LLC, Civ. No. 11-908 (D. Del. filed Oct. 6, 2011).
Represented Alfresco Software in a lawsuit involving allegations of patent infringement related to content management systems. The lawsuit involved nine patents from two distinct families of patents, each covering different subject matter. After successfully transferring the case from the Eastern District of Virginia to the Northern District of California, Alfresco invalidated two of the asserted patents at the 12(b)(6) stage under the Supreme Court's Alice standard for patentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. 101. The remainder of the case was settled shortly thereafter on confidential terms. Open Text SA v. Alfresco Software Ltd., et al., 13-cv-04843 JD (N. D. Cal., filed October 18, 2013).
Represented Nissan in IPR of U.S. Patent Nos. 5,917,405; 6,542,076; 6,549,130; and 7,397,363. The patents generally relate to remotely controlling a vehicle. Nissan succeeded in invalidating each challenged claim of all four patents before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. Nissan North America Inc. v. Joao Control & Monitoring Systems LLC., Case No. IPR2015-01508, -01509, -01585, and -01645.
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Wake Forest University School of Law J.D. (2007) cum laude, Order of the Coif
University of North Carolina at Asheville B.S. (2000) Computer Science
North Carolina (2007)
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (2011)
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (2008)
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina (2007)
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas (2021)
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (2007)
American Bar Association, IP Litigation Committee, Young Lawyers Subcommittee, Co-Chair (2009-2012)
American Bar Association, IP Litigation Committee, Patent Law Subcommittee, Co-Chair (2012-2017)
North Carolina Bar Association, Co-Editor of IP Links Newsletter (2010-2012)
North Carolina Bar Association, IP Section Council, Member (2012-Present)
North Carolina Museum of Natural Resources, Advisory Council, Member (2014-2017)
Wake Forest Law Review, Managing Editor (2006-2007)
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