Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Jury Finding of Willful Infringement Does Not Satisfy Section 287 Notice Requirement

Following remand, the court granted defendant's motion for summary judgment to preclude plaintiff from seeking pre-suit damages and rejected plaintiff's argument that the jury's willful infringement finding satisfied plaintiff's obligation to establish actual notice. "⁠[Plaintiff] argues . . . that it meets it burden to show actual notice under Section 287 based on both the Court’s rulings and the jury’s findings of willful infringement. [Plaintiff] further points to evidence introduced at trial that [defendant] knew about the [patents-in-suit] and was aware internally about potential infringement. But the reading of the statute that [plaintiff] urges conflates the patentee-centered inquiry of notice under Section 287(a) with the infringer-centered inquiry of willfulness with regard to liability. . . . The jury’s finding of willfulness does not relieve [plaintiff] of its obligation to mark or notify -- neither of which [plaintiff] did prior to [filing suit]. "

Arctic Cat Inc. v. Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. et al, 0-14-cv-62369 (FLSD August 10, 2018, Order) (Bloom, USDJ)

Monday, August 13, 2018

Counsel’s Removal of Non-Disclosure Footer From Purported Prior Art Document Warrants Award of Monetary and Evidentiary Sanctions

The court imposed monetary sanctions against defense counsel for removing a non-disclosure footer from an exhibit in support of defendant's motion to dismiss on the ground that the accused device was publicly disclosed prior art. "I do not find that [counsel] intentionally doctored the Power Point presentation or intentionally proffered false or misleading evidence to the Court when he filed [defendant's] motion to dismiss. . . . However, I do find that his conduct was reckless . . . both as to the initial filing of the Power Point presentation from which the non-disclosure footer was removed, and as to his failure to undertake a serious investigation as to why the error occurred and to timely bring the matter to the Court’s attention. The gist of [defendant's] motion to dismiss was that the presentation to [an automotive group] was a public disclosure that invalidated Plaintiff’s claim as prior art. The basis of the motion would therefore be open to question in the light of evidence that the presentation was not public, but subject to confidentiality and non-disclosure. . . . [A] reasonable attorney who became aware that he or she had inadvertently filed an exhibit that had deleted this information would be horrified. . . . Instead, after being informed that he filed an exhibit that he should have known had relevant information removed, he dug in."

Webasto Thermo & Comfort North America, Inc. et al v. Bestop, Inc., 2-16-cv-13456 (MIED August 9, 2018, Order) (Whalen, MJ)

Friday, August 10, 2018

Knowledge of Potential Infringement During Prior Settlement Does Not Trigger Equitable Estoppel

Following jury and bench trials, the court found that equitable estoppel did not preclude plaintiff's claims for infringement of its footwear design patents because there was no misleading conduct following the parties' settlement of an earlier case. "⁠[Plaintiff] did not act in a misleading way when it contractually gave [defendant] the right to sell potentially infringing boots in the [prior] Settlement Agreement. . . . [Defendant] argued that [plaintiff] was aware of the [current accused] designs as early as [seven years ago]; even if that were true, [plaintiff] did not act in a misleading manner because [plaintiff] had no obligation to settle claims that exceeded the scope of the [prior] Litigation."

Deckers Outdoor Corporation v. Romeo and Juliette, Inc. et al, 2-15-cv-02812 (CACD August 8, 2018, Order) (Hatter, USDJ)

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Instruction That Jury “Should” Consider Objective Indicia Not Erroneous

Following a jury verdict of invalidity, the court denied plaintiff's motion for a new trial because the jury instructions regarding obviousness were proper. "⁠[T]he Court instructed the jury that it 'should' consider objective indicia of nonobviousness in making its obviousness determinations. [Plaintiff] contends that the jury should have been instructed that it 'must' consider objective indicia of non-obviousness because such considerations are mandatory. . . . [Plaintiff's] argument . . . has more traction in the context of statutes and contracts: words written by lawyers, argued over by lawyers, and interpreted by lawyers. Here, however, in the context of jury instructions, 'should' sufficiently conveyed to the members of the jury (none of whom were lawyers) the purportedly mandatory nature of their consideration of objective indicia of nonobviousness. . . . Even if it was error for the Court to use 'should' rather than 'must,' such error was harmless -- it neither misled the jury nor had a probable effect on the verdict."

Bombardier Recreational Products, Inc et al v. Arctic Cat, Inc et al, 0-12-cv-02706 (MND August 7, 2018, Order) (Tunheim, USDJ)

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Post-Verdict Sales of Infringing Product Support Award of Enhanced Damages

Following a jury verdict of willful infringement, the court granted in part plaintiff's motion for enhanced damages and increased the damage award by 25% because one-quarter of defendant's sales at issue took place after the verdict. "⁠[E]nhancement is appropriate in light of evidence of culpable conduct presented at trial and [defendant's] deliberate and conscious decision to continue selling [the accused product] after the verdict. . . . [O]n the pre-trial record, the question of infringement was, without doubt, debatable. But the situation changed at trial. [Plaintiff] presented credible evidence of deliberate copying. . . . The evidence also raised doubts about whether [defendant] attempted in good faith to evaluate infringement after being sued. . . . After the verdict, [defendant] continued to sell [the accused product] and did not modify the units in any way. Its course of conduct can only be seen as intentional, and entirely at its own risk."

Johnstech International Corp. v. JF Technology Berhad et al, 3-14-cv-02864 (CAND August 6, 2018, Order) (Donato, USDJ)

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Vague Interrogatories a "Gift" to Answering Party

The court granted in part plaintiff's motion to compel further interrogatory responses regarding defendants' offers to sell the accused surgical products. "The dispute lies with Defendants’ response to the portion of the Interrogatory calling for a 'detailed description of the circumstances of [defendants'] offering to each customer.' Defendants assert that this portion of the request is vague, irrelevant and not proportional. . . . Its vagueness was a gift from Plaintiff; Defendants were free to interpret it and provide a response, so long as the response was reasonable. Doing nothing was not acceptable. . . . Defendants need not, in supplementing their response, respond directly to the 8 categories of information Plaintiff believes should be in the response. Defendants may consider the list merely as suggestions that it may use to craft a reasonable response."

NuVasive, Inc. v. Alphatec Holdings, Inc. et al, 3-18-cv-00347 (CASD August 3, 2018, Order) (Dembin, MJ)

Monday, August 6, 2018

Defense Counsel’s Past Representation of Party to Confidential Settlement Agreement Does Not Justify Disqualification

The court denied plaintiff's motion to disqualify defense counsel who represented a third party as a defendant in another case involving the same patent-in-suit that resulted in a confidential settlement agreement. "⁠[B]ecause [counsel] did not represent [plaintiff] in that prior matter, there is no way that he could have had access to relevant privileged information belonging to [plaintiff], which is the third requirement of the test. The only claim is that he is now aware of the information contained in the confidential settlement agreement entered into in that case. There is no claim that [counsel] violated his duty of loyalty to his former client, and no claim that he has 'divulge[d] confidential communications' that he learned from his former client. Nor has there been any claim that he accepted representation of a person whose interests are adverse to those of his former client. . . . [P]laintiff provides no authority for this novel proposition that this set of circumstances demands disqualification of the adversary’s attorney."

Tour Technology Software, Inc. v. RTV, Inc., 1-17-cv-05817 (NYED August 2, 2018, Order) (Pollak, MJ)

Friday, August 3, 2018

Conclusory Disclaimer Stricken From Expert’s Report

The court granted plaintiff's motion to strike portions of the reports of defendant's invalidity experts which included disclaimers. "⁠[Plaintiff] insists that the following language should be stricken from the claim charts included with [the experts'] Invalidity Reports: 'Even if these references do not expressly disclose this claim element, the claim is obvious due to the inherent disclosure of the references and/or the knowledge of one of ordinary skill in the art. . . .' The failure of [defendant's] experts to provide any analysis supporting their conclusions is prejudicial to [plaintiff] because it cannot adequately prepare to cross-examine [them] regarding said conclusions or counter their reasoning with [its] own experts. [Defendant's] argument that the challenged statements are not 'reservations' or 'disclaimers,' but instead, reflect 'the fact that the claim elements are also found elsewhere,' does not address the problem with the experts’ lack of analysis. If [defendant] is correct, then there is no harm in striking the statements."

Karl Storz Endoscopy-America, Inc. v. Stryker Corporation et al, 3-14-cv-00876 (CAND August 1, 2018, Order) (Corley, MJ)

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Victory at Trial Does Not Justify Increase in Rate for Ongoing Royalty

Following a jury trial, the court partially granted plaintiff's motion for an ongoing royalty and awarded the same royalty rate imposed by the jury. "⁠[T]he Court refused to grant a preliminary injunction . . . finding that because [plaintiff] did not practice that patent, [it] could not show any irreparable harm. . . . [T]he Court is unwilling to award [plaintiff] a royalty enhancement predicated only upon its victory at trial. This is especially so because the hypothetical negotiation the Court must now envision mirrors the hypothetical negotiation the jury already considered in setting the $4-per-sale royalty rate which [plaintiff] seeks to enhance. . . . [Plaintiff] has not shown that a hypothetical negotiation conducted now should end any differently than the hypothetical negotiation envisioned by the jury in setting the rate originally."

The Chamberlain Group, Inc. v. Techtronic Industries Co., Ltd. et al, 1-16-cv-06097 (ILND July 31, 2018, Order) (Leinenweber, SJ)

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

"Obscure" Royalty Rate Does Not Render Jury Award Excessive

Following a jury trial, the court denied defendant's motion for new trial and rejected defendant's argument that the jury's damages award was excessive. "Because the Court granted judgment of matter of law against [plaintiff] on the issue of lost profits, [plaintiff] was only entitled to a reasonable royalty. . . . [Defendant] argues that the jury’s damages award 'does not appear to be based on a reasonable royalty since it amounts' to obscure percentages. . . . [Defendant] cites no authority requiring the jury to award a reasonable royalty based on a round number. But even then . . . the Court can arrive at the $2,624,288 damages amount with simple math. . . . A reasonable jury may have resolved this discrepancy [between the parties' experts] by averaging the two sales figures, which results in a sales figure of $16,930,546. The jury’s damages award of $2,624,288 is 15.5% of $16,930,546. Although not required by law, the Court finds that 15.5% is a clean royalty rate that a jury could be reasonably expected to award [plaintiff] for [defendant's] infringement."

Schwendimann v. Arkwright Advanced Coating, Inc., 0-11-cv-00820 (MND July 30, 2018, Order) (Tunheim, USDJ)