Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Couple of Upcoming Events on Patent Remedies

First, as reported the other day on the Essential Patents Blog, the AIPLA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. will feature a session this coming Thursday, October 23, at 3:30 p.m. titled "Practical Considerations in Litigating Standard Essential Patents."  According to the post, David Long of Kelley Drye will moderate a one-hour panel discussion with United States District Judge James Holderman (the author of the FRAND opinion in In re Innovatio IP Ventures LLC, which I blogged about here) and Administrative Law Judge Theodore Essex (whose very different views on FRAND, as expressed in his Initial Determination in In the Matter of Certain Wireless Devices with 3G and/or 4G Capabilities and Components Thereof, were the subject of my blog post here).  Sounds like it should be a great session.
 
Second, American University's Washington College of Law and the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law will be presenting a conference at American University in Washington, D.C., on November 11, 2014, titled "Patent + Policy -- The Future of Patent Remedies."  I will be presenting a paper I am currently working on with Norman Siebrasse, titled "A New Framework for Determining Reasonable Royalties in Patent Litigation."  (The paper is still a work in progress, but I will notify readers when it is up on ssrn.)  Here is a link to the conference website, and here is the conference description and schedule:
Over the past few years, the once-placid world of patent remedies has been thrown into upheaval.  Judicial decisions and pronouncements by enforcement agencies have both put pressure on traditional doctrines relating to damages, fee recovery and injunctive relief.  This symposium will explore recent developments and the future trajectory of patent remedies law from a judicial, regulatory and legislative standpoint.  Please join us for this important event.
8:30-9:00 – Registration and Coffee
9-9:50 – Panel 1: Remedies and Standards-Essential Patents 
Moderator: Jorge Contreras, University of Utah
Panel:
Tom Cotter, University of Minnesota
Dina Kallay, Ericsson
Jeff Totten, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
10:00-10:35 – Panel 2:  Injunctive Relief Developments
Moderator: Michael Carroll, American University Washington College of Law
Panel:
Suzanne Munck – Federal Trade Commission 
Jim Sherwood – Google, Inc.
Paul Schoenhard – Ropes & Gray
10:45-12:00 – Panel 3:  Monetary Damages: Royalties, Lost Profits and Costs
Moderator: Jonas Anderson, American University Washington College of Law
Panel:
Roy Lytle – Microsoft, Inc
David Cavanaugh – WilmerHale
Matt Levy – Computer and Communications Industry Ass’n
 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Some comments on the Contreras and Gilbert paper

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned a paper that Jorge Contreras and Richard Gilbert had recently posted on ssrn, titled A Unified Framework for RAND and Other Reasonable Royalties I stated that I agreed with the authors' thesis that "the reasonable royalty analysis should be conducted in essentially the same manner for all patents, whether or not they are encumbered by RAND commitments," but that I might have more to say about the paper after I had had a chance to read through all of it.  Having now read the paper and given it some thought, I can say that I recommend the paper quite highly, and I look forward to talking it over with the authors at an upcoming conference in D.C.  For what it's worth, here are a few more brief comments.

First, for reasons I have stated at length elsewhere (see, for example, here), I agree with the authors' statement that courts generally should deny injunctive relief for the infringement of SEPs, whether or not those SEPs are encumbered by a RAND commitment.  If anything, the authors make more of the RAND commitment than they really need to, for example when they state at p.7 that "courts informed by the patent owner's RAND commitment, can . . . apply the eBay factors to determine when an injunction is warranted" (emphasis in original; see also p.31).  But they rectify matters in part when they state at p.8 that, even in the absence of RAND commitment, "if the failure to license a patent that is essential to a standard would allow its owner to hold up firms and consumers that are locked in to the standard with serious negative consequences for economic welfare, it would not require a delicate balancing of equities for a court to conclude that injunctive relief should not be available, regardless of whether the patent is subject to a RAND licensing commitment."  Perhaps also, in countries that generally view injunctive relief not as a discretionary matter, but rather as a right accruing to the victorious patent owner, perhaps a RAND commitment would be necessary for a court to find a reason (grounded in competition law or the abuse of right doctrine) to deny an injunction--though maybe not, since even the German Orange-Book-Standard framework does not require that the SEP be subject to such a commitment.  And in any event, the authors are clear that as far as injunctive relief is concerned their analysis focuses only on U.S. courts (p.9).  

Second, the authors are right in stating that courts setting RAND royalties should apply an ex ante bargaining framework, where "ex ante" means "before the standard has issued and firms and consumers make irreversible commitments" (p.11; see also the discussion at pp. 26-27, 30-31).  As I mentioned last week, Norman Siebrasse and I are working on a paper that recommends the same result, though with the caveat that courts should assume the parties to the ex ante negotiation have access to all relevant ex post information as well.  But I'll hold off on elaborating on that point for the time being, since we're still working on the paper.

Third, I also agree with the authors' statement that "[t]he fact that there is no single best way to apportion the value of a technology to individual patents does not undermine the utility of the incremental value method to assess the total royalty for the technology at issue" (p.13).  It's important to know what the ideal is before you can determine what evidence can serve as an acceptable proxy for that ideal.  That said, and as the authors recognize, it can be fiendishly difficult to figure out how best to apportion value among patents (whether SEPs or not); this may be the single most important topic for which, if some aspiring economists is looking to make his or her mark on the profession, we really could use a breakthrough.

Fourth, on the issue of whether RAND is still relevant if courts are going to calculate reasonable royalties in the same manner regardless of the existence of a RAND commitment, the authors are probably right in noting that a RAND commitment may have other consequences, including other possible claims for relief (e.g., breach of contract); and that "even if the royalty that a patent holder may charge to a licensee under a RAND commitment is the same as the royalty it would have received as damages in an infringement suit absent the RAND commitment, it is more efficient to operate under a system in which there is a presumption that licenses will be granted on reasonable terms compared to a less certain environment in which disputes are more likely to be pursued in litigation" (pp. 31-32).

Fifth, one matter that I think needs to be corrected is the authors' characterization at p. 34 of the holding in the Grain Processing case (185 F.3d 1341 (Fed. Cir. 1999)).  As I recall it, the Federal Circuit on the second appeal affirmed Judge Easterbrook's determination that the plaintiff had not suffered any lost profits.  Maybe I'm misreading what the authors mean to say about this case, however.

Overall, this is a very good paper that deserves to be widely read.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sedona Conference Commentary on Patent Damages and Remedies

The Sedona Conference describes itself as "a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) research and educational institute dedicated to the advanced study of law and policy in the areas of antitrust law, complex litigation, and intellectual property rights."  The Sedona Conference Working Group Series describes its mission as the pursuit of "in-depth study of tipping point issues in the areas of antitrust law, complex litigation, and intellectual property rights, with the goal of producing high-quality, non-partisan commentary and guidance of immediate, practical benefit to the bench and bar."  Just recently I learned that the Sedona Conference Working Group on Patent Damages and Remedies (WG9) has published a public comment version of a document titled Commentary on Patent Damages and Remedies, available here, and is soliciting public comments on the Commentary through January 30, 2015.  Here is a link to information on submitting comments, and here is a link (behind a paywall, however) to a recent write-up on Bloomberg BNA's Patent, Copyright & Trademark Law Daily about an October 9 webinar on the Commentary.

The Commentary is quite interesting and covers a range of issues, including principles for calculating reasonable royalties, best practices for pretrial and trial procedure relating to damages issues, and the availability of injunctive relief.  There is much here that I think is very sensible, including the Working Group's suggestions relating to the availability of injunctive relief (pp. 53-54).  On this issue, the Working Group argues, among other things, that injunctive relief generally should not be available for the infringement of a FRAND-encumbered SEP (though, like Contreras and Gilbert, I would go further and say that injunctions generally should not be available for the infringement of SEPs even in the absence of a FRAND commitment; and perhaps the Working Group would agree too, because it also states that "[a] patent owner's practice of licensing the patent widely to whomever has requested a license presents a strong case for denial of the injunction").

Perhaps the most interesting part of the Commentary is the Working Group's recommended Principle II-1, which states that
The reasonable royalty in patent infringement matters should fairly compensate the patent holder for the actual use made by the infringer of the patented invention and should be determined by considering what fully informed and reasonable persons in the position of the patent owner (or owners throughout the period of infringement) and the infringer would agree to at the time of trial as a fair price for the use of the patented invention, from the time of first infringement through the time of trial, taking into account all relevant facts and circumstances occurring before or during that period" (emphasis added).  
The Working Group refers to this as the "retrospective model" (I would use the term "ex post" approach).  It also acknowledges that what it refers to as the "status quo" approach (and what I would refer to as the "ex ante" approach) is for the court to determine the royalty the parties would have agreed to as of a date just before the infringement began (ex ante)--though it also allows courts to consider ex post evidence (the so-called "book of wisdom") as an aid in determining the terms the parties would have agreed to ex ante.  The Working Group nevertheless argues that the book of wisdom principle is "amorphous" and unpredictable, and that 
the Retrospective Model is the most economically sound approach that both accomplishes the goals of the patent damages statute and also is consistent with the economic principles governing patent valuation. Taking all facts known through the time of trial into account eliminates the potential for unfairness in the prospective model without introducing the cherry-picking and uncertainty that the book of wisdom imported into that model (p.16).
It also recognizes, however, that "[m]oving the hypothetical negotiation . . . to a time at or near the time of trial has potential infirmities as well. Specifically, it could lead to a higher (and potentially unfair) royalty due to what are commonly known as 'lock in' effects" (id.)  To rectify this consequence, the Working Group recommends as Principle II-7 that
Where the technology claimed in the asserted patent is necessary to practice because (1) it is essential to a de facto standard or a standard adopted by a recognized standard setting organization (i.e., standard-essential); (2) a technically feasible non-infringing design around alternative is restricted or prohibited by government regulations or requirements; and/or (3) the technically feasible design around is cost-prohibitive, then the reasonable royalty should exclude any premium the patent may command solely resulting from the adoption of the standard or the governmental/commercial prohibitions on design modification. All standards adopted prior to trial may be considered.
In particular, 
where lock-in effects exist at the time of trial, the valuation of the patented technology must be performed at an earlier time, before the infringer was locked-in, so as to avoid the attachment of a premium to the value of the patent technology that results from the user’s lock-in. Accordingly, the Working Group determined that, for purposes of addressing lock-in and avoiding holdup effects, the patented technology to which the infringer is locked in generally should be valued in a manner that would exclude any premium the patent would command as a result of the adoption of the standard, i.e., any premium divorced from the technical merits of the technology. . . .
The parties should encourage their damages experts to take care to exclude from their reasonable royalty determination any hold-up effects that may result from a valuation performed after the relevant lock-in date. The reasonable royalty analysis should assign the reasonable royalty value prior to the relevant lock-in date. Upon the filing of a Daubert motion challenging the reasonable royalty methodology, the court should explicitly consider whether lock-in/hold-up effects were properly accounted for in the challenged methodology (pp. 26, 40).
My own view, as expressed in a forthcoming draft of a paper I am coauthoring with Norman Siebrasse that is tentatively titled A New Framework for Determining Reasonable Royalties in Patent Litigation, is that the Working Group is right to focus on ex post information as an indicium of patent value, but that the Working Group's proposed implementation of that insight needs some reworking.  As I see it, both the "status quo" and "retrospective" approaches as described by the Working Group suffer from a common defect:  the assumption that a hypothetical bargain taking place ex ante can be based only on information that is available ex ante.  Inspired in part by a paper published by Mario Mariniello titled Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) Terms: A Challenge for Competition Authorities, 7 J. Comp. L. & Econ. 523 (2011), however, Professor Siebrasse and I will argue that there is no good reason why this must be so, and that in general courts should calculate royalties based on a hypothetical negotiation taking place ex ante but with knowledge of all relevant facts that are known ex post.  Although this may sound less “real” than the ex ante or ex post approaches described above, it is important to recognize that all of these approaches are fictions—that’s what “hypothetical negotiation” means—and that courts should employ the fiction that best serves the goals of the patent system.  In our view, the goal in setting damages should be to award compensation that is commensurate with (though less than) the social value of the invention, and ex post information is better suited than is ex ante information to determine that value--you know more later than you did before about the invention's value.  That value may be higher or lower than what reasonable parties would have expected ex ante, a point the Working Group to its credit makes at p.16.  Moreover, as both we and the Working Group point out, even aside from the "book of wisdom" issue courts already use some ex post information when setting royalties, for example in determining the value of the royalty base for a running royalty, or when assuming that the hypothetical negotiation took place on the assumption that the patent was valid and infringed (a fact that is not established until the conclusion of trial).  Nevertheless, we think that posing the question of what bargain the parties would have struck ex post risks overcompensating patentees precisely because of hold-up or lock-in costs, which we understand to encompass any value the patentee is able to extract that is based on the cost of switching from an infringing to a noninfringing technology.  Those costs are not dependent on the patent in suit being standard-essential (though in the context of SEPs they are likely to be particularly high), and they bear no relation to the value of the invention as such. 

We therefore conclude that royalties should be calculated based on a hypothetical negotiation occurring ex ante--preferably before the infringer has incurred costs in reliance on its ability to use the patented technology--but with full knowledge of how valuable (or not) the patented technology would be, in comparison with alternatives, ex post.  (Interestingly, courts in Germany have sometimes expressed the reasonable royalty framework in similar terms, as involving the question of "what reasonable contracting parties would have agreed to, at the conclusion of a licensing agreement, if they had foreseen the future development and specifically the duration and amount of the use of the patent.")  In our forthcoming paper, we will expound upon this theme over a variety of contexts, including but not limited to SEPs, where our thesis indicates that a FRAND royalty should be equivalent to what the parties would have agreed to ex ante (before the standard is adopted) but with full knowledge of the value of the patent (ex post) as part of that standard.  This allows the court to avoid awarding damages based on the hold-up value, but at the same time recognizes that a portion of the patent's value may be complementary to the value of other patents within the standard (in other words, part of the value the patent owner should recover is due to the fact that the patent winds up being incorporated into a standard).

As stated, Professor Siebrasse and I are still working on our paper, but we hope to have a draft ready to post on ssrn before too long.  When it is ready, we probably will file a comment on the Working Group's Commentary that explains our views at greater length.         

Monday, October 13, 2014

Nobel Laureate Jean Tirole's Contributions to the Economics of Intellectual Property

I was delighted to hear this morning that French economist Jean Tirole had been awarded the 2014 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.  Professor Tirole's contributions to the economics of industrial organization are many and varied.  They include several works on the economics of patents, including a recent paper that he coauthored with Josh Lerner titled Standard-Essential Patents, NBER Working Paper 19664, that I mentioned on this blog earlier this year (here).  Norman Siebrasse and I had thought about blogging about the paper at some point--we thought, in Professor Siebrasse's words, that Lerner and Tirole may have been too pessimistic about the ability of the FRAND requirement to constrain ex post market power, and too optimistic about the feasibility of ex ante commitments in the form of price caps--but be that as it may, Professor Tirole's work is innovative and rigorous, and the paper deserves wide attention.  As noted by the Economic Sciences Prize Committee of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in their 52-page summary of Professor Tirole's work (available here), Professor Tirole has also written on, among other topics, the subject of patent races in an influential article with Drew Fudenberg, Richard Gilbert, and Joseph Stiglitz (which I've cited in my work), and on patent pools.  The Nobel Committee also cites his work on the economics of open-source software, network competition and two-sided markets, and many other subjects.

Anyway, congratulations to a very deserving winner.   

Preliminary Injunctions and Irreparable Harm in China

As I discuss in my book, article 66 of China's Patent Law authorizes the court to award preliminary injunctions “[i]f the patentee or interested party has evidence to prove that another person is committing or is about to commit a patent infringement, which, unless being checked in time, may cause irreparable harm to his lawful rights and interests . . . ."  Moreover:
Commentators agree that preliminary injunctions are less frequently granted in patent than in trademark litigation; and that annually the number of patent cases in which preliminary injunctions are granted is fairly small, due in large part to Chinese courts’ strict understanding of the petitioner’s burden of proof and the difficulty of obtaining sufficient evidence of irreparable harm. Such caution may be warranted, however, given the statutory framework under which such proceedings are initiated prior to the initiation of the infringement action and are supposed to be decided within forty-eight hours (p.351).
In addition, article 14 of the Supreme People's Court's April 21, 2009 Opinion on Certain Issues with Respect to Intellectual Property Judicial Adjudication Under the Current Economic Situation (an English translation of which can be found in Douglas Clark's book Patent Litigation in China (Oxford Univ. Press 2011)), advises the lower courts to "cautiously use preliminary injunction measures." It also suggests that such measures "are suitable mainly in cases where the facts are relatively clear and infringement easy to judge," and that courts should try to avoid "unfairly caus[ing] trouble to the production and operations of the enterprise sued," though at the same time courts should limit the "public interest" defense to cases involving "public health, environmental protection, and other circumstances of major social interests."   
   
Anyway, the May/June 2014 issue of China Intellectual Property features an article by Kevin Nie and Jessie Chen titled Landmark IP Cases of China in 2013.  Case number 1 is the Abbott Milk Container Case, (2013) SanZhongMinBaoZi No. 01933 Civil Judgment, Beijing Third Intermediate People's Court, which the authors describe as involving "an issue of first impression in a Beijing court  . . . of great significance both in theory and practice."  (The case is also discussed in this post by Benjamin Bai on the Kluwer Patent Blog, which I mentioned here this past May.)  According to Nie and Chen, Abbott, the licensee of a design patent for a milk container, commenced a proceeding for a preliminary injunction against Yilong Company, which allegedly made and sold infringing containers.  The court concluded that the plaintiff was faced with irreparable harm based on the following factors:  (1) the defendants sold the containers at wholesale to milk powder producers, who in turn would resell them, so that infringement was likely to occur "at each point of sale," thus causing Abbott "increasing costs and difficulty in protection of its rights"; (2) design patent rights last for only ten years; and (3) "designs for containers don't last long and may be easily replaced" (p.28).  On this basis, the court issued the injunction, after which the parties settled.  (Mr. Bai, in his account noted above, also mentions that the court found found "a high likelihood that Abbott could prevail on its infringement claim," that "Abbott’s harm, if a PI was not issued, would be greater than the infringers’ harm if a PI was issued," that "Abbott posted an adequate bond," and that "no public interest would be adversely impacted.")

In my view, it's not so clear why the fact that the patent may be separately infringed by the retailer should matter all that much in determining irreparable harm, since one would normally expect the infringing manufacturer to pay a royalty for the use of the patent (which apparently is what wound up happening anyway); any separate harm accruing from the separate infringement by the retailer seems rather abstract, in my view.   Put another way, I don't see how the sales to the retailers make the harm any more or less reparable.  I'm also not sure why the fact that the containers are easily replaced makes the infringement any less reparable, if the defendant could be ordered to pay damages--though one theory might be that retailers would get used to doing business with the defendant and continue doing business with that entity, even after it switches to another product.  In any event, given the small number of cases in which Chinese courts have granted preliminary injunctions in patent disputes, it's helpful to have another data point in the mix.

The Nie & Chen article also discusses a case in which the Beijing Second Intermediate People's Court issued a preliminary injunction against an alleged copyright infringement in a well-known writer's letters, and another in which the First Intermediate Court of Shanghai issued a preliminary injunction in a trade secret case brought by Eli Lilly.  For further discussion on this blog of this last case, and of preliminary injunctions in China generally, see here and here.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Luginbuehl and Ganea's "Patent Law in Greater China"

IPKat recently profiled, and the University of Minnesota's Law Library just acquired a copy of, a new book published by Edward Elgar titled Patent Law in Greater China (Stefan Luginbuehl & Peter Ganea, eds.).  As the title suggests, the book discusses patent law not only in the PRC but also in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau. Among the contributors of individual chapters are some of the lawyers and academics whose commentary I found useful in writing my own book, including Professors Luginbuehl and Ganea, Cao Jingjing, Douglas Clark, and Thomas Pattloch.

Readers of this blog may find of particular interest chapter 13 ("Patent Infringement Procedures and Remedies," by Olive Pfaffenzeller) and chapter 18 ("Standard-Essential Patents and Injunctive Relief"), by Cui Guobin).  Chapter 13 includes a section on remedies that provides a good overview of Chinese law relating to injunctions and damages in patent cases, and a separate section on interim measures that provides an overview of the law of preliminary injunctions (all of which topics I also discuss in my book at pp. 346-60 and/or on this blog, see here and here).  (In addition, chapter 14 of Patent Law in Greater China, titled "The Interplay Between Infringement and Invalidity Proceedings" by Nils Heide, briefly discusses the interplay between invalidity proceedings and preliminary injunctions, at pp. 268-69.)  Chapter 13 also includes a section on customs protection (a topic I only mention in passing in my book, at p. 353 & n.86), and on "measures for the protection of patent rights during exhibitions" (a topic I do not discuss).  Yet another section, titled "Future Prospects," discusses some measures that are under consideration for inclusion into the Fourth Amendment to the Chinese Patent Act.  As Mr. Pfaffenzeller notes, a planned amendment to article 61 of the Chinese Patent Act would make it easier for patent plaintiffs to obtain the necessary information from the defendant to support a claim for lost profits damages, and a possible amendment to article 65 would allow courts to award treble damages for willful infringement (see also my blog posts on this topic here and here, and this one noting that a similar measure has recently been re-adopted into the patent law of Taiwan.)    

Chapter 18 provides an overview of SSOs and FRAND commitments generally, and then devotes attention to the question of whether under Chinese contract law a FRAND commitment constitutes an offer to license or a third-party beneficiary contract.  Mr. Cui argues that, contrary to the view expressed in a Chinese law review article by the judges who heard the Huawei v. InterDigital case, a FRAND commitment can constitute an offer, even though the price remains to be determined (pp. 347-49).  Mr. Cui notes the various possible interpretations of Chinese contract law regarding third-party beneficiaries but believes that a court could interpret the FRAND commitment as such a contract as well (pp. 349-52).  Under either interpretation, a court could refuse an SEP owner's request for an injunction (p.359).  Mr. Cui also argues that a Chinese court might apply the Chinese law of patent remedies to deny an SEP owner an injunction (pp. 354-55).  Finally, the chapter discusses the possibility of denying an injunction under the Antimonopoly Law, and includes a brief discussion of the Huawei case (pp. 356-58).  (For previous discussion of that case on this blog, see here, here, and here.)   A brief appendix to the chapter is titled "Comments from a European Perspective" and is authored by Heinz Goddar, Jan Bernd Nordemann and Christian Czychowski.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Today's Nobel Prize and Employee Inventor Compensation

In many countries, the law requires employers to compensate employee inventors for their inventions.  This is not a topic I write or blog about very much, because it's a little far afield from the law of patent remedies as such and (so far) I haven't taken the time to immerse myself in the relevant literature.  Occasionally, though, I have touched upon it, because (1) in some countries courts sometimes may consider the royalties employers have been required to pay employees, when they are trying to set an appropriate royalty in an infringement case (see my book, p.269, discussing German law); and (2) similar factors may be relevant for purposes of determining royalties in both settings.  Some notable disputes over employee remuneration have arisen in, among other places, Japan.   As I noted in this post from June 25, 2014, for example, "the March 2014 issue of AIPPI-Journal of Japanese Group of AIPPI has an article (pp. 39-46) by former USPTO Director David Kappos and AIPPI Japan Vice President Kenichi Nagasawa titled Japan's Article 35:  Are Employee-Inventor Monetary Award Laws Impeding Japanese Innovation?  The article discusses the Japanese law on employee remuneration (which, according to the authors, is currently under consideration for reform) and compares the situation with the U.S. (where the matter is left up to the market), Germany, South Korea, and China."

Anyway, I thought it was interesting that today's Nobel Prize in Physics, awarded to Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano, and Shuji Nakamura for "Efficient Blue Light-Emitting Diodes Leading to Bright and Energy-Saving White Light Sources," is for research that led to an employee remuneration lawsuit in Japan, according to this article from today's Japan News. According to the article, Dr. Nakamura (who is now a professor at the University of California-Santa Barbara in the United States) filed suit in Japan in 2001 against his former employer, Nichia Corporation, "seeking eventually ¥20 billion for his contribution during his former employment at the company for the invention of blue LEDs.  The company, which owns the patents on the revolutionary lights, was ordered by the Tokyo District Court in 2004 to pay the full amount demanded.  But in 2005, both sides reached an agreement at the Tokyo High Court to settle the matter out of court for a total amount of ¥685.7 million," or approximately U.S.$ 6 million.

Anyway, congratulations to the three physicists.  Here is today's article on the prize from the New York Times, and here is a link to a Royal Swedish Academy of Science paper on the Scientific Background on the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2014.