Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Evidence of Reexamination Proceedings Inadmissible to Show No Willful Infringement

The court excluded evidence of reexamination proceedings despite defendants' argument that such evidence was relevant to show a lack of willful infringement. "It is idle to suggest that the complicated evidence the defendants seek to bring before the jury on the question of willful infringement will not hopelessly confuse them. Data from the [PTO] reflects that 92% of ex parte requests for re-examination have been granted since July 1, 1981. Given the fact that office actions are the norm and do not remotely presage the outcome of the patent process, evidence of the kind involved here will not be helpful to the jury in evaluating the question of willfulness. . . . The evidence will do no more than invite speculation of the most obvious sort. . . . [T]here are limits to a jury’s capacity to make the kind of exceedingly fine distinctions that would be required by the evidence the defendants seek to offer. There are times, and this is one of them, when a limiting instruction is pointless."

Minemyer v. R-Boc Representatives, Inc., et. al
., 1-07-cv-01763 (ILND February 2, 2012, Order) (Cole, M.J.)

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