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Top U.S .phone company AT&T Inc said on Monday that it was ordered to pay $156 million after losing a jury verdict in a patent infringement case brought by TGIP Inc. Separately, Verizon Communications said it reached a settlement with TGIP, a Dallas-based company that holds patents related to telephone calling cards, but details were not given.

AT&T said it would appeal the case, which was tried in the Beaumont division of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The case centered on two patents related to activating calling cards.

"We are disappointed by this result which is contrary to the law and evidence in this case. We will seek to have it corrected by the trial court or on appeal," AT&T spokesman Michael Coe said in an e-mailed statement.

Verizon confirmed the settlement but declined to comment on details.

The financial award against AT&T could increase to $468 million, or three times the original verdict, McKool Smith P.C., the law firm representing Dallas-based TGIP, said in a statement. The law firm cited the jury's finding of willful infringement against AT&T.

McKool Smith said other defendants besides Verizon had reached settlements before the trial but it did not give details.

The lawsuit was filed against AT&T Corp. in March 2006 before the company merged with SBC to form AT&T Inc.


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