Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Correction of Obvious Error Saves Patent Claim From Indefiniteness

The court denied defendant's motion for summary judgment that plaintiff's wireless communication patent was invalid as indefinite and granted plaintiff's motion to correct an obvious error in the patent. "During prosecution of [a patent-in-suit] the patent examiner corrected the phrase 'subscribers' to 'subcarriers' in claim 7 to avoid the absurdity of a cellular system where 'subscriber units' are 'allocated' to themselves. Recognizing a similar, but uncorrected, problem in another claim, Plaintiff . . . now asks this court to complete the task. . . . Neither party disputes that the term 'subscriber units' as used in claim 18 is nonsensical because the [patent-in-suit] concerns only the allocation of subcarriers, not subscriber units. . . . Rather than suggesting a different construction, the prosecution history reinforces the conclusion that 'subcarriers' is the only reasonable construction of claim 18’s reference to 'subscriber units.'. . . While [plaintiff] could have and perhaps should have acted more promptly, Defendants cite no case limiting judicial correction under the present circumstances."

Adaptix, Inc. v. Apple, Inc. et al, 5-13-cv-01777 (CAND October 27, 2014, Order) (Grewal, M.J.)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Damages Expert May Not Testify From Memory Concerning Past Transactions Without Producing Documentation

The court granted defendant's motion to exclude the testimony of plaintiff's expert regarding a reasonable royalty because his opinion was based on licenses not produced in discovery and the expert was not permitted to testify about the unproduced licenses from memory. "[I]t is undisputed that [plaintiff's expert] is unable to produce copies of the 'Swiss' and 'Italian' licenses referenced in paragraph 55 of his expert report, or any other licenses to which he more generally refers. . . . [The expert] seeks to testify about the royalty rates paid, or being paid, by certain third-parties, but is unable to produce copies of the licensing agreements to which he refers. . . . [Plaintiff] presents no authority to this court that would allow [its expert] to testify about the terms of the 'Swiss' and 'Italian' licenses without producing copies of them to [defendant], in contravention of the general rule that all supporting facts and data be produced with the expert report."

Ravo et al v. Covidien PLC, 2-11-cv-01637 (PAWD October 24, 2014, Order) (Conti, J.)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Bad Faith Infringement Suit Warrants Doubling of Attorneys’ Fee Award

Following judgment on the pleadings that plaintiff's decision-making patent was invalid as claiming unpatentable subject matter, the court granted defendant's motion for attorneys’ fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 and doubled the amount of attorneys' fees as a deterrent. "While the primary goal of Section 285 is to compensate parties who have been forced to defend against frivolous and unwarranted suits, it also serves as a deterrent against such litigation. The instigation of a lawsuit brought in bad faith against a defendant causes a severe injury to the defendant that cannot fully be compensated. . . . This litigation was resolved on the merits because this defendant has the financial ability to resist the plaintiff’s pressure and because it chose to fund a defense in court rather than pay an unwarranted, less expensive licensing fee. It appears that none of the other defendants sued by [plaintiff] made that choice. As a result, but for [defendant's] financial resources and resolve, [plaintiff's] predatory behavior would likely have proceeded unchecked. Any award in this action must be substantial enough to deter [plaintiff] from pursuing baseless claims in the manner [plaintiff] used in this case."

Lumen View Technology LLC v. Findthebest.com, Inc., 1-13-cv-03599 (NYSD October 23, 2014, Order) (Cote, J.)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Post-Fact Discovery Amendments to Infringement and Invalidity Contentions Stricken

The court granted defendant's motion to strike plaintiff's amended infringement and invalidity contentions served after the close of discovery. "[Plaintiff] cannot avoid the boundaries of its timely infringement contentions by not disclosing the substance of its doctrine of equivalents and structural equivalents contentions until its Corrected Opening Expert Report. . . . [Defendant] would be prejudiced by allowing [plaintiff] to proceed on its untimely contentions, which would likely lead to loss of the current trial date and the necessity for additional expensive discovery, and could potentially require additional claim construction proceedings. . . . [W]hile the Court does not find [plaintiff] acted in bad faith, it did willfully proceed on timing in conflict with the Court's scheduling order for fact discovery. . . . [W]hile [plaintiff] will lose some 'critical' evidence, it may proceed on its timely-filed contentions."

Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation, et al v. Power Integrations Inc., 1-12-cv-00540 (DED October 22, 2014, Order) (Stark, J.)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Domestic Contract For Foreign Manufacture and Delivery Not An Infringing Act

The court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment of noninfringement of plaintiff's image sensor patents because the accused wafers were not sold in the U.S. "[A]t most, the evidence shows that [defendants'] entities engaged in conduct amounting to domestic contracts for foreign sales — that is, contracts executed in the United States but contemplating strictly foreign manufacture and delivery. Such conduct does not constitute direct infringement because the accused wafers are manufactured and sold outside the United States. . . . In light of the strong presumption that United States patent law does not operate extraterritorially, the Court finds that the place of manufacture and the location of the contemplated sales (i.e., Taiwan) are determinative of direct infringement liability. . . . . Even if the Court accepts [plaintiff's] position that [defendants] negotiated and executed contracts for the sale of the accused wafers in the United States, the contracts contemplated delivery and performance abroad."

Ziptronix, Inc. v. Omnivision Technologies, Inc., et al, 4-10-cv-05525 (CAND October 21, 2014, Order) (Armstrong, J.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Conflicting Claim Constructions by District Court and PTAB No Basis for Interlocutory Appeal

The court denied plaintiff's motion to certify for interlocutory appeal the court's claim construction where the PTAB construed certain claim terms differently. "In this case, there have been different decisions on the same contested issue by two different adjudicative bodies: this Court and the [PTAB], in the parties’ Inter Partes Reexamination, currently on appeal at the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. . . . [D]istrict courts interpret claims using the 'ordinary and customary meaning' of the terms . . . whereas in PTO proceedings, claims are construed under the 'broadest reasonable interpretation' standard. Hence, it is not surprising that constructions from IPRs and other PTO proceedings may differ from or, indeed, be diametrically opposed to those of district courts, as is the case here, where, for example, this Court found the preambles limiting, but the PTO did not so find. . . . While there are 'conflicting interpretations from' different adjudicative bodies, the interpretations stem from different standards. Thus, the Court does not believe that the instant conflicting determinations actually present the scenario of 'conflicting opinions,' envisioned under § 1292(b)."

Wonderland Nurserygoods Co., Ltd. v. Thorley Industries, LLC, 2-12-cv-00196 (PAWD October 20, 2014, Order) (Fischer, J.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Plaintiff’s Communications With Internal Counsel Presumptively Not Privileged

The court granted defendant's motion to compel documents withheld as privileged. "[T]he established policies underlying the work product doctrine require that the phrase 'in anticipation of litigation' . . . be limited, with respect to non-opinion material, to material generated solely with respect to [plaintiff's] relationship with a particular potential licensee/defendant beginning at the time that potential licensee/defendant is identified. Other or more general relationship to litigation will render the material presumptively business-related and not protected. . . . [I]nternal communications to and from internal counsel are presumptively business communications not protected by the attorney-client privilege unless they relate solely to [plaintiff's] relationship with a specific potential licensee/defendant at or after the time that potential licensee/defendant is identified."

MLR, LLC v. Dell Inc., 1-14-cv-00135 (VAED October 17, 2014, Order) (Jones, M.J.)