In St. Jude Medical v. Volcano Corporation, C.A. No. 16-631-RGA-MPT (D. Del. June 15, 2012), Judge Andrews recently considered the parties’ motions to strike expert reports. Plaintiff moved to strike the expert report of defendant’s patent law expert. Id. at 1. Judge Andrews granted plaintiff’s motion finding that the contents of the report, which was “akin to a legal brief” on patent law, was not the appropriate subject of expert testimony and would not assist the trier of fact. Id. Defendant moved to strike the expert reports of plaintiff’s inequitable conduct experts. Id. Noting that no inequitable conduct defenses would be presented to a jury, and noting that portions of the reports might be inadmissible or irrelevant, Judge Andrews declined to strike the reports because parts of the reports were admissible and would assist the Court as the trier of fact on inequitable conduct. Id. at 2.
Judge Thynge awards costs to defendant as "prevailing party" after upholding jury verdict of non-infringement, but reversing jury's invalidity verdict
In United Access Technologies, LLC v. Earthlink, Inc. C.A. No. 02-272-MPT (D. Del. June 14, 2012), Judge Thynge recently considered defendant’s bill of costs submitted after the Court’s opinion, that reversed the jury’s verdict as to invalidity but upheld the jury’s verdict of non-infringement, was affirmed on appeal. Id. at 1-3. Plaintiff objected to defendant’s bill of costs arguing, among other things, that defendant was not the prevailing party because defendant was unsuccessful on its counterclaim of invalidity. Id. at 4 Judge Thynge disagreed. Defendant was the prevailing party because the relief it received on the merits, i.e., that it did not infringe plaintiff’s patent and was free to continue operating its DSL business, altered the legal relationship between the parties. Id. at 9. It was irrelevant that defendant was unsuccessful on its invalidity counterclaims. Because plaintiff’s patent is presumed valid, the court’s finding that defendant failed to carry its burden to prove invalidity did not “materially alter the legal relationship between the parties by modifying [defendant’s] behavior in a way that directly benefitted [plaintiff.]” Id.
Magistrate Judge Schneider denies motion for leave to amend infringement and invalidity contentions.
Magistrate Judge Schneider of the District of New Jersey recently reminded parties of the appropriate showing that must be made in connection with a motion for leave to amend infringement and invalidity contentions. Bayer CropSciences AG v. Dow AgroSciences LLC, C.A. No. 10-1045 (RMB/JS) (D. Del. June 7, 2012). The Court explained, “the key fact courts should look at to determine whether good cause exists to grant an amendment to a contention is the diligence of the moving party. Diligence has two aspects to it. One is whether the moving party acted diligently to discover that an amendment was appropriate. The second aspect is whether the moving party promptly moved to amend its contentions after it learned an amendment was necessary.” Id. at 3 (citing O2 Micro Intern. Ltd. v. Monolithic Power Systems, Inc., 467 F.3d 1355, 1365-67 (Fed. Cir. 2006)). In denying the motion, the Court explained, “good cause is not established simply because a party desires to respond to an amended contention. Otherwise, there would be a never ending series of amendments.” Id. at 4. In this case, Dow’s motion “did not demonstrate why its latest proposed amendment could not have been asserted earlier or why Bayer’s amendment was not anticipated.” Id.
The Court also rejected Dow’s attempt to amend its contentions through an incorporation by reference of its summary judgment briefs, explaining “[t]he Patent Rules [of the District of New Jersey] incorporated into the Court’s Scheduling Order provides that contentions may only be amended by motion. The mere fact of filing a brief is insufficient to amend a contention.” Id. at 5. Moreover, the Court explained that “Dow has not demonstrated why the contentions in its briefs were not included in its earlier filed contentions.” Id. at 6. Finally, the Court denied Dow’s attempt to add two prior art references “that were both discovered recently,” explaining that Dow’s motion “did not attempt to establish good cause for its failure to previously identify the references.” Id.
Magistrate Judge Burke issues report and recommendation construing claims relating to dermatological topical gel.
Magistrate Judge Burke recently issued a report and recommendation construing claims relating to a low-viscosity gel composition that operates as a “delivery system” for pharmaceutical ingredients in the treatment of skin disorders. See Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp. v. Actavis Mid Atlantic LLC, C.A. No. 11-409-LPS-CJB (D. Del. June 12, 2012). The "delivery system" was described as follows: “through the use of a ‘lightly cross-linked polyacrylic acid polymer,’ which has a low viscosity relative to its concentration in aqueous solutions . . . the gel composition offers two principal advantages: (1) more appealing cosmetic characteristics, such as a reduction in a ‘sticky’ feel or residue; and (2) more accurate application through improved flow and pourability.” Id. at 3.
Magistrate Judge Burke recommended the adoption of the parties’ agreed-upon construction of the following claim terms, finding that they were consistent with the intrinsic record:
-- “for a period of time sufficient to improve the skin disorder” construed to mean “over a course of treatment of sufficient duration to improve the skin disorder
-- “base to adjust pH.” construed to mean “a basic compound that can be used to adjust pH.”
Also recommended were the following constructions of disputed terms:
-- “lightly cross-linked polyacrylic acid polymer” construed to mean “a cross-linked polymer of acrylic acid with a viscosity of less than about 15,000 cP, where the polymer is in a 0.5% solution at pH 7.5, as measured by a Brookfield viscometer at 20 rpm”.
-- “container” as recited in “a container that accurately administers a portion of the composition” construed to mean “a container that has a sufficiently small orifice tip to dispense quantities of the low-viscosity gel composition in accordance with treatment instructions”
-- “container” as recited in “a container from which drops are accurately administered” construed to mean “a container that has a sufficiently small orifice tip to dispense generally spherical quantities of the low-viscosity gel composition in accordance with treatment instructions”
UPDATED: Judge Stark adopted Judge Burke's Report and Recommendation on July 16, 2012 after neither party filed an objection. Medicis Pharma. Corp. v. Actavis Mid Atlantic LLC, C.A. No. 11-409-LPS-CJB (D. Del. Jul. 16, 2012).
Judge Andrews Affirms Magistrate Judge’s Decision to Exclude Prior Art Evidence as a Sanction for Discovery Violations
In St. Jude Medical, et al. v. Volcano Corp., C.A. No. 10-631-RGA (D. Del. June 5, 2012), Judge Andrews recently affirmed and overruled objections to the Magistrate Judge’s decision to exclude certain prior art evidence that was not properly disclosed by plaintiffs until nearly three months after the close of fact discovery. Id. at 2-3. In the opinion, the Court noted that plaintiffs’ invalidity contentions were “useless in terms of giving [d]efendant any information about what theories [plaintiffs] would actually pursue.” Id. at 3. The Court also noted that plaintiffs’ contentions included as invalidating prior art “100 patents, 21 publications, and 92 prior art systems” and that those references that were excluded were “buried amidst” these many other invalidating references. Id. at 3. The Court ultimately held that the Magistrate Judge’s decision to exclude the prior art references was neither “clearly erroneous” nor an “abuse of discretion”; concluding rather, that it was a sanction appropriately “tailored to the nature and extent of the violation.” Id. at 4.
Judge Stark recently issued a final pretrial order with rulings on eight different motions in limine in Tarkus Imaging, Inc. v. Adobe Systems, Inc., C.A. No. 10-63-LPS (D. Del. May 31, 2012). Judge Stark’s in limine rulings included the following:
1. A non-expert witness and that witness’s opinions not previously disclosed under Rule 26 are not per se inadmissible, but specific portions of testimony should be addressed by objection pursuant to the Court’s normal procedures.
2. Defendants may not be barred wholesale from introducing undisclosed expert testimony. Rather, objections to testimony beyond the scope of expert reports should be addressed pursuant to the Court’s normal procedures, and Defendants may elicit fact testimony from fact witnesses regarding how accused products work.
3. Parties are not permitted to argue who “won” or “lost” claim construction, but Defendants may defend willfulness allegations by contending that their proposed constructions were reasonable.
4. Evidence of usage or sale of components that are not the accused functionality is allowed because it is probative of induced infringement and the potential for prejudice does not outweigh the evidence’s probative value.
5. Parties may not present evidence that other parties did not comply with the discovery rules. Allowing the parties to relitigate discovery disputes at trial would be unfairly prejudicial, confusing, and a waste of time.
Judge Andrews construes terms of Walker Digital patent claiming system and method for applying lottery multipliers
In Walker Digital LLC, et al. v. Multi-State Lottery Assoc., C.A. No. 10-1113-RGA (D. Del. June 7, 2012), Judge Andrews construed the following terms of U.S. Patent No. 7,740,537 which claims a system and method to allow a lottery player to increase payout received for winning a lottery game:
“is applied to”
“lottery terminal” (no construction necessary)
“lottery server” (no construction necessary)
“determine a price”
“store an indication of a price”
Judge Stark: jury cannot consider willfulness claim where defendant asserted reasonable claim construction and non-infringement positions.
In Tarkus Imaging, Inc. v. Adobe Systems, Inc., et al., C.A. No. 10-63-LPS (D. Del. June 5, 2012), Judge Stark granted Adobe Systems, Inc.’s motion for summary judgment of no willful infringement, explaining that because Adobe asserted “reasonable claim construction positions under which Adobe would not infringe . . . and credible non-infringement theories even under the Court’s different constructions[,]” the plaintiff could not show by clear and convincing evidence that Adobe acted despite an objectively high likelihood that it infringed a valid patent. Id. at 3-4 (discussing first prong of the Federal Circuit’s test for establishing willful infringement under In re Seagate Technology, LLC, 497 F.3d 1360, 1371 (Fed. Cir. 2007)). The Court explained that although it "did not ultimately adopt Adobe’s constructions for [the terms ‘output device’ and ‘pictorial dynamic range’] . . . the fact that Adobe asserted reasonable constructions under which its products would not infringe precludes a finding that the first prong of Seagate is satisfied.” Id. at 4. As a result, “the Court should not put the issue of willfulness – including the second “subjective” prong – before a jury.” Id. at 3 (citing Powell v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., 663 F.3d 1221, 1236 (Fed. Cir. 2011) (satisfying the objective first prong of the willfulness test is “a predicate to the jury’s consideration of the second prong”)). Moreover, the Court explained that Adobe asserted reasonable non-infringement theories even under the Court’s claim construction, also leading to the conclusion that the first prong of the Seagate test could not be satisfied. Id. at 5.
The Court acknowledged that the parties presented genuine disputes of material fact, but explained that those disputed facts related to the subjective second prong of the willfulness test under Seagate, “an inquiry that must not be put before the jury given Tarkus’s failure to satisfy the [objective] first prong.” Id. at 6.
In a recent ANDA case, following full post-trial briefing and in light of the approaching expiration of the 30-month stay, Judge Stark issued a sua sponte order enjoining the defendant from launching its generic product until the Court issues its opinion in the case. Galderma Labs, L.P. v. Tolmar, Inc., C.A. No. 10-45-LPS (D. Del. June 4, 2012).
Judge Burke Recommends That Patent Infringement Case be Transferred to the Northern District of California Under the “First-Filed Rule”
In Fuisz Pharma LLC v. Theranos, Inc., C.A. No. 11-1061-SLR-CJB (D. Del. May 18, 2012), Magistrate Judge Burke recently issued a Report and Recommendation, recommending that defendant’s motion to dismiss, stay, or transfer be granted in part, and that the case be transferred to the Northern District of California pursuant to the first-filed rule. Id. at 1. On October 26, 2011, Theranos, Inc. (“Theranos”), a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Palo Alto, California, originally brought suit in the Northern District of California (the “California Action”) against Fuisz Technologies, Ltd. and several members of the Fuisz family for inventorship claims under the Patent Act and state law claims alleging that the Fuisz defendants’ misappropriated Theranos’ confidential information and used that information to improperly obtain U.S. Patent No. 7,824,612 (the “’612 patent”). Id. at 2. On October 27, 2011, the same day that they were served with the original Complaint filed in the California Action, two of the individual Fuisz defendants named in the California Action assigned certain rights to the ‘612 patent to Fuisz Pharma LLC (“Fuisz Pharma”), a Delaware limited liability company with its principal place of business in Bay Harbor Islands, Florida. Id. at 3. Fuisz Pharma then filed the instant suit on November 1, 2011 in D. Del. (the “Delaware Action”) against Theranos for infringement of the ‘612 patent. Id. at 3. In response to being sued here in Delaware, Theranos filed a motion seeking to have the Delaware action dismissed, transferred to the N.D. Cal., or stayed pending resolution of the California Action, on the grounds that the California Action is the “first-filed” action. Id. at 3. Theranos argued that its motion should be granted pursuant to the first-filed rule “because it filed the California Action prior to Fuisz Pharma’s filing of the instant litigation [in Delaware], and because the California Action involves the same parties and subject matter as this action.” Id. at 7. In its opposition, Fuisz Pharma countered that the first-filed rule did not apply “because the California Action does not involve the same issues and/or the same parties as this infringement litigation [in Delaware].” Id. at 8. More specifically, Fuisz Pharma argued that the two cases are “distinctly different” because the Delaware Action is a “straight forward patent infringement action,” while in the California Action there are “other legal claims at issue.” Id. at 8.
The Court sided with Theranos, concluding that the “first-filed” rule did apply, the California action was, indeed, the “first-filed” action, and that the Jumara factors favored transfer of the Delaware Action to the N.D. Cal. Id. at 8, 35. The Court noted that: (a) “all of the parties in this action are parties to the California Action”; (b) “both cases involve . . . the ‘612 patent”; (c) the claims in both suits “stem, to a very great degree, from the same subject matter and same nucleus of operative facts,” and that (d) “if both actions were allowed to proceed simultaneously, there would be substantial risk of inconsistent judgments.” Id. at 8-14. The Court further noted that the first-filed rule has been applied in patent cases, even where the cases are not so-called “mirror image” cases, provided that the “same common subject matter exists among the two cases.” Id. at 12 (citations and quotations omitted). As part of its analysis of the Third Circuit’s Jumara factors, the Court also noted that the “existence of the first-filed California Action has a significant impact on the balancing of the public and private interests in the case” and that “the balance of those factors weigh strongly in favor of transfer.” Id. at 34.