The challenge in this case was to prove that Altera’s product performed the same function in the same way and achieved the same results as the patent pertaining to Field Programmable Gate Array logic devices held by Xilinx.

The Focal Point’s Role

Hundreds of still graphics and dozens of animation vignettes teaching everything from patent law, to digital logic concepts, to chip-making specifications, to the actual claims at issue, were created in consultation with lawyers and hired experts. One key animation sequence took all of the drawings of the patent figure circuitry and brought them to life by organizing the claim information for the jury. The animation showed what was going on at various levels of the figures and how all the components were interconnected. References to the actual language from both the patent specifications and the claims were key to helping the jurors understand the specific issues involved in the case. Another series of graphics and animations taught the basics of how a computer chip implements boolean functions such as AND, OR, and NOT in order to output a result. A simple house alarm analogy was used to teach the various complex components in stages.


After a widely publicized battle involving some of the top trial attorneys in the nation, The Focal Point’s client received a favorable jury verdict that eventually led to a complete settlement of this and numerous other matters between the companies.


US District Court for the Northern District of California

The Focal Point’s Client

Keker & Van NestJohn Keker
Robert Van Nest
Brian Ferrall