Scotch and sandwiches streamed into a suite in Chicago's Ambassador West Hotel for 48 hours straight last week. Inside, a dozen high-priced lawyers barely paused to refresh. When they did pause at last, patent-challenger Zenith Radio Corp. had finally pinned heavyweight champ Radio Corp. of America after eleven years of legal jujitsu. In the biggest antitrust recovery in history, Zenith settled for $10 million in its $61.7 million suit against RCA.

At issue was RCA's industry-blanketing pool of an estimated 15,000 patents which for years has given RCA a royalty percentage, e.g., an average 2% on radios, on almost every...

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