Friday, June 15, 2018

Institution of Claims Based on SAS Mandate May Not Simplify Issues for Trial Such That a Stay of Litigation is Warranted

Following the PTAB’s supplemental institution decision in light of SAS Inst., Inc. v. Iancu, ___ U.S. ___, 138 S. Ct. 1348, 1352–54 (2018) instituting inter partes review of all challenged claims of the patents-in-suit, the court granted defendants’ motion to stay because the potential for simplification of issues, the stage of the litigation, and lack of prejudice to plaintiff weighed in favor of a stay. “The PTAB issued the Supplemental Orders to review [new claims of two patents-in-suit] only because the SAS Institute decision dictates that result—not because [defendants] had demonstrated a reasonable likelihood that those claims were unpatentable on the challenged grounds. To the contrary, PTAB initially found that [defendants’] patentability challenges were lacking. . . . In the absence of a PTAB decision finding a reasonable likelihood that a claim is unpatentable, the question of whether a stay will simplify issues is not so clear. . . . Yet and still, staying [the case for the newly instituted claims] would have the effect of removing them from this case. It is hard to see how this result does not simplify the case. . . . [T]he developments since I last analyzed [the stage of litigation factor] do not alter the conclusion that ‘this case is not so far advanced that a stay would be improper.’ . . . Granting a stay on [the newly instituted claims] would leave [plaintiff] with only four remaining patents. But [plaintiff] does not contend that this amounts to any cognizable prejudice.

Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. et al v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. et al, 3-16-cv-02787 (CAND June 13, 2018, Order) (Orrick, USDJ)

Thursday, June 14, 2018

SAS Prompts Post-Trial Stay of Entry of Judgment on Willful Infringement Verdict

Following a jury trial but prior to the entry of judgment, the court sua sponte stayed plaintiff's patent infringement action pending inter partes review after the PTAB reinstituted review in response to the Supreme Court's decision in SAS Institute Inc. v. Iancu, 138 S. Ct. 1348 (2018). "A jury returned a verdict in [plaintiff's] favor, finding that the asserted claims of the [patent-in-suit] are not invalid and that [defendants] willfully infringed the asserted claims. . . . Following the jury trial but prior to entry of final judgment . . . the Supreme Court held that the PTAB must address every claim a petitioner has challenged. Because the PTAB did not previously address every claim challenged by [defendants] -- specifically, the claims at issue in this litigation -- the PTAB modified its institution decision 'to include review of all challenged claims and all ground presented in the Petition.'. . . The Parties are instructed to notify the Court of the PTAB’s decision within five days of such decision and the Court shall re-open the matter. "

Prisua Engineering Corp. v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. et al, 1-16-cv-21761 (FLSD June 12, 2018, Order) (Moore, USDJ)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Discovery Concerning Potential Litigation Funding is Not Relevant or Proportional

The court denied defendants' motion to compel additional discovery regarding plaintiff's litigation funding because defendants failed to establish relevance or proportionality. "⁠[D]efendants move to compel production of Board minutes that discuss the potential funding, and move to complete the deposition of [plaintiff's board member], who declined to answer questions about the potential funding. . . . [Plaintiff] contests the relevance of the information requested and proffers an important piece of information: it does not have any third-party litigation financing. The Court is not persuaded that the materials sought are relevant to any party’s claim or defense and 'proportional to the needs of the case.' Even if litigation funding were relevant (which is contestable), potential litigation funding is a side issue at best. The Court finds that there is much discovery that would be more important in resolving the merits of this case. And the burden of responding would outweigh its likely benefit to defendants."

Space Data Corporation v. Alphabet, Inc. and Google LLC, 5-16-cv-03260 (CAND June 11, 2018, Order) (Cousins, MJ)

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Lack of Specific Dosage Amounts and Frequencies of Administration Does Not Render Claims for Method of Treating Pain Invalid Under 35 U.S.C. § 101

The court denied defendant's motion to reconsider an earlier order granting plaintiff's motion for summary judgment that the asserted claims of its pain treatment patents did not encompass unpatentable subject matter. "The fact that certain of the claims do not recite specific dosage amounts and frequencies of administration is not fatal to the patent eligibility of the 'PK-only' claims under 35 U.S.C. § 101. A claim to a method of treating an illness is typically more than an expression of a natural law; if it were otherwise, pharmaceutical patents would be hard to come by, as most methods of treatment using pharmaceuticals consist simply of the administration of a drug that affects the human body in a manner that is dictated by laws of nature. . . . The claims in all of the claims asserted in this action . . . are 'treatment steps' -- that is, directed at a new and useful method of treating pain in a certain population of patients using a specific set of hydrocodone bitartrate formulations. For that reason, the Court views the claims as not directed to unpatentable subject matter by claiming patent protection for a natural law."

Pernix Ireland Pain Ltd. et al v. Alvogen Malta Operations Ltd., 1-16-cv-00139 (DED June 8, 2018, Order) (Bryson, CJ)

Monday, June 11, 2018

PTAB’s Final Written Decision Addressing Some But Not All Challenged Claims No Basis for Lifting Stay

The court denied plaintiff's motion to lift a stipulated stay pending inter partes review because the PTAB had not resolved two uninstituted claims following the Supreme Court's decision in SAS Institute, Inc. v. Iancu, 138 S. Ct. 1348 (2018). "Although the PTAB denied institution of IPR proceedings with respect to claims 5 and 10, and issued a final written decision on all remaining claims, the Supreme Court recently ruled that the PTAB must issue a final written decision 'with respect to the patentability of any patent claim challenged,' and 'in this context, as in so many others, "any" means "every."' For this reason, the Federal Circuit remanded [defendant's] appeal to the PTAB for issuance of a final decision regarding the patentability of claims 5 and 10. Consequently, the PTAB has yet to resolve the patentability of all challenged claims in the pending IPR proceeding, and the terms of the parties' stipulation have not been satisfied."

DermaFocus LLC v. Ulthera, Inc., 1-15-cv-00654 (DED June 7, 2018, Order) (Fallon, MJ)

Friday, June 8, 2018

Contract Law Expert Report Stricken as Unhelpful

The court granted plaintiff's motion to strike report of defendant's contract expert regarding whether defendant sold anticipating prior art before the critical date because the testimony was unhelpful. "There is little evidence in the expert report that [the expert] has brought any of his expertise to this exercise. . . . The [expert] indicates no particular expertise in review of purchase orders, invoices, product shipping records, or the like. He indicates no particular expertise in interpreting what the fact witnesses who have been deposed have said. He indicates no reliance on anything relevant to the particular industry. In my opinion, any reasonably literate English-speaker could apply the legal principles to the factual record on the relevant sale and offer to sell issues. . . . The only specialized knowledge that [the expert] has is the same thing -- contract law -- which in our system is my responsibility. For the most part, his expert report outlines the closing argument one might expect Defendant's lawyer to make after the jury has heard the underlying testimony and seen the underlying documents."

BASF Corporation v. Johnson Matthey Inc., 1-14-cv-01204 (DED June 6, 2018, Order) (Andrews, USDJ

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Judge Shopping Tactic Constitutes Serious Misbehavior Justifying Award of Attorney Fees

Following a dismissal for failure to prosecute after six years of litigation, the court granted defendants' motions for attorney fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 because plaintiff's litigation tactics were unreasonable. "⁠[P]laintiff filed eight separate actions in this district against parties who turned out to be [the software developer defendant's] customers. None of those cases were marked as related. . . . [A week later] plaintiff filed nine more separate actions in this district, again against parties who turned out to be [the developer's] customers. Again, none of these cases were marked as related. . . . [B]efore any of the defendants had been served -- plaintiff voluntarily dismissed every case that had not been assigned to [one judge] except [for two cases]. Then . . . plaintiff filed five more cases in this district against four more of [the developer's] customers and against [the developer] itself. This time, plaintiff marked these cases as related to each other and related to [a case] which had been assigned to [that judge]. . . . The Court therefore finds that plaintiff deliberately . . . waited to file its case against [the developer] itself until it could mark that case as related to one in front of its preferred judge. That conduct, under the circumstances, is serious misbehavior."

DataTern, Inc. v. Blazent, Inc., et al, 1-11-cv-11970 (MAD June 5, 2018, Order) (Saylor, USDJ)