WASHINGTON - A federal appellate court ruled yesterday that i-Deal LLC's Parity electronic bidding system does not infringe on a 2001 patent obtained by MuniAuction Inc., rejecting a lower court's ruling that i-Deal pay MuniAuction $84.6 million.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said that i-Deal "clearly and convincingly" established a case that the MuniAuction patent is "obvious as a matter of law," reversing a ruling last summer by Judge Gary Lancaster of the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

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