In an order dated April 8, 2011, after learning that the 30 month stay in the case was reaching its end, Judge Sue L. Robinson issued a sua sponte injunction of several generic defendants that prohibits the defendants from launching generic versions of the drug at issue until the court issues its opinion in the case. In Re Cyclobenzaprine Hydrochloride Extended Release Capsule Patent Litigation, C.A. No. 09-MD-2118-SLR, Order (D. Del. April 8, 2011).
Sadly, we say goodbye to one of the Delaware IP Law Blog's co-creators and authors, Andrew Lundgren, as he leaves YCST to start a new path in his legal career as in-house counsel. Andrew played a pivotal role in the creation and maintenance of the blog and has authored countless posts since the blog's first day back in September 2006. I know I can speak for all of us when I say he will be sorely missed. We wish Andrew all the best in his new endeavor!
A recent decision by District of Delaware Special Master David A. White offers a rare precedent for disputes concerning the sequence of discovery. In the underlying infringement litigation, eBay objected to XPRT's 30(b)(6) notice on the ground that it prematurely sought a deposition before document discovery concluded. XPRT insisted that the deposition proceed, and appeared at the noticed time.
eBay did not appear, and XPRT followed with a motion to compel eBay to designate a witness. The Court agreed that, absent a request for judicial intervention, eBay should have produced its witness:
"While one party may prefer that discovery be taken in a specific manner, the Federal Rules provide otherwise, and the objecting party bears responsibility for seeking appropriate relief. . . . Similarly, where the parties disagree as to the orderly management of discovery and discussions have reached an impasse . . . , the objecting party must seek relief from the requested discovery. eBay took no affirmative action in this instance, thereby depriving the Court of the opportunity to determine whether such arguments warranted relief."
In other words, the party objecting to the deposition notice must preserve that objection by doing more than simply boycotting the deposition.
In Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. Galderma Laboratories, Inc., Civ. No. 10-892-LPS (D. Del. Mar. 24, 2011), Judge Stark construed two claim terms:
Term 1: "steady state blood levels of doxycycline of a minimum of 0.1 μg/ml and a maximum of 1.0 μg/ml"
Meaning: "steady state plasma concentrations of doxycycline of a minimum of 0.1 μg/ml and a maximum of 1.0 μg/ml"
Term 2: "steady state blood levels of doxycycline of between 0.3 μg/ml to 0.8 μg/ml"
Meaning: "steady state plasma concentrations of doxycycline of between 0.3 μg/ml to 0.8 μg/ml"
In Mark IV Industries Corp. v. Transcore Holdings, Inc., et al., C.A. No. 09-418-GMS (D. Del. March 28, 2011), Judge Sleet recently construed the following terms relating to U.S. Patent Nos. 5,164,732; 5,196,846; 5,192,954; and 6,219,613:
The '732 Patent
"a  triggering electromagnetic field"
"a  transponder capture regiion limited to a first lane of the multi-lane roadway"
"second monitoring a frequency of a second return information signal during a second information interval, different from said first information"
"determining that said one lane travelled by said vehicle is said first lane, when said first monitoring step receives said first return signal during said first information interval"
The '846 Patent
"data signal processing means"
"means at said interrogator for periodically transmitting trigger pulses"
"means, comprising storage means at said transponder, responsive to a first received one of said trigger pulses for transmitting a first data message derivevd from data contained by said storage means at the time that said first trigger pulse is received"
"means at said interrogator for receiving said first data message and
responsive to the receipt thereof for generating and transmitting a second data
"means at said transponder for receiving said second data message and for
storing data derived from said second data message in said storage means"
"means at said interrogator for transmitting a second trigger pulse a
predetermined period of time after said first trigger pulse, the predetermined period of
time being of sufficient length to permit the storage in said storage means of data
derived from said second message"
"a predetermined period of time after said first trigger pulse"
"a predetermined period of time after the transmission of said
second data message"
"the predetermined period of time being of sufficient length to permit the
storage in said storage means of data derived from said second message"
"means at said transponder for transmitting a third data message responsive
to said trigger pulse"
"means for analyzing said third data message to determine the proper
operation by said transponder in response to the said second data message"
"determining proper operation"
"means for deriving said second data message from said first data message"
"means for deriving said second data message from said first data message
and data relating to roadway use tolls"
"storage means" is a means-plus-function term. The disclosed function is
"antenna means for transmitting and receiving signals conveyed by
"means for receiving a first data message from said transponder and
responsive to the receipt thereof for generating and transmitting a second data
message via said antenna means"
"means for transmitting a second trigger pulse via said antenna means a
predetermined period of time after the transmission of said second data message"
"means for receiving a third data message via said antenna means and for
determining from the content of said third data message the proper operation by said
transponder in response to said second data message"
The '954 Patent
"transponder generated electromagnetic signals"
"an antenna array generally extending over said roadway"
"means electrically coupling said interrogator and array for transmitting
radio frequency signals therebetween"
"means mounting said radiating elements over and above said roadway"
"means configuring said elements, said configuration generating a radiation
field, said field defining a transponder capture zone over and above said roadway and extending across said roadway width"
"linear microstrip patch elements"
The '613 Patent
"second predetermined coverage zone that partially overlaps the first
"processing means responsive to the antennas to count the number of
periodic data signals received by each of the antennas from the transponder during a
time period and determine based on the count a probable location of the vehicle"
"a time period"
"processing means is configured to commence the time period when at least
one of the antennas first receives a data signal from the transponder"
In an interesting opinion regarding a motion to transfer, Judge Robinson grants the defendants' motion to transfer the case to the Southern District of New York where plaintiff had filed a mirror image lawsuit on the same day as the Delaware suit. Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp. v. Nycomed U.S. Inc., C. A. No. 10-419-SLR, Memo. Order (D. Del. Mar. 31, 2011). The first-filed analysis was inconclusive because although the Delaware complaint had a time-stamp of 3:35 p.m., the New York complaint had only a hand-stamped date without any indication of time. Id. at 2-3. Plaintiff argued in its answering brief that the New York action was filed as a "protective measure" in case the defendants challenged personal jurisdiction in Delaware and because they did not raise that defense, the Delaware case should go forward. The Court finding "no compelling reason for the suit at bar to be the one to survive" stated that "the unusual circumstances of this case" favor transfer because the suits were filed simultaneously, the suit in New York is moving at a faster pace, and "New York is the center of the dispute between the parties." Id. at 5.
Chief Judge Sleet: Plaintiff's Motion to Dismiss Defendant's Counterclaims and Affirmative Defenses GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART; Motion to Strike Inequitable Conduct Defense DENIED
In U.S. Philips Corp. v. Samsung Electronics Co., C.A. No. 09-692 GMS (D. Del. Mar. 25, 2011), Chief Judge Sleet recently decided plaintiff’s motions to dismiss several counterclaims and affirmative defenses and to strike defendant's inequitable conduct defense. Judge Sleet granted plaintiff’s motion to dismiss defendant’s time-barred fraud and negligent misrepresentation counterclaims. Id. at 1-2. Although defendant attempted to avoid the statute of limitations by limiting damages to “litigation expenses incurred in connection with defending this action[,]” Judge Sleet held that defendant cannot “circumvent the usual rules governing litigation expenses by recasting those expenses as the sole basis for damages in its fraud and negligent misrepresentation counterclaims.” Id. at 2-3. However, Judge Sleet denied plaintiff’s motion to strike or dismiss defendant’s affirmative defenses in light of “the well-established rule that affirmative defenses are not ordinarily subject to the statute of limitations so long as they are properly pled and arise from the same transaction as the claims in the original complaint.” Id. at 3. Finally, Judge Sleet denied plaintiff’s motion to strike defendant’s inequitable conduct allegations as insufficiently pled, declining to rule, “[a]t this early stage in the proceedings,” “on whether specific documents are prior art or otherwise make determinations as to the materiality or relevance of particular documents.” Id. at 5.
In a recent opinion, District Judge Sue L. Robinson commented on the nature of expert testimony in patent cases. In particular, the Court highlighted the important distinction between scientific "truth" and the role of the judiciary in the decidedly non-scientific legal system:
"[Expert] Matzger's testimony is, of course, only reliable to the extent [Expert] Bates's data (and Bates's testimony thereupon) is also reliable. That two scientists at the top of their field could disagree on their reading of 'hard' data is, unfortunately, neither surprising nor a rare occurrence in this court. The court is not tasked with determining the scientific 'truth' with respect to infringement, to the extent one exists, only weighing the parties' evidence and resolving their business dispute according to established burdens of proof. Consequently, the court does not deem Bates's evidence more or less credible insofar as Matzger also relied upon it but ultimately disagreed as to its import."
For those of you interested in the Court's findings in the companion infringement action, click here.
Judge Robinson recently issued an opinion following a bench trial in Medtronic v. Boston Scientific Corp., C.A. No. 07-823-SLR (Mar. 30, 2011). This was a declaratory judgment action by plaintiff Medtronic, Inc.
One interesting aspect of the case was the way that the parties treated the burden of proof regarding infringement. The parties each argued that the other side bore the burden due to the procedural nature of the case (a declaratory judgment action). The patentee (defendant) argued that the alleged infringer (plaintiff) had the burden of proof on non-infringement because "the plaintiff usually has the burden of proof," and because prior agreements between the parties overrode caselaw that says that the patentee always bears the burden of proof. Id. at 16-17. Judge Robinson, however, held that "'[t]he burden is always on the patentee to show infringement,'" and the burden never shifts to the other party. Id. at 17. Thus, the patentee defendants bore the burden of proving non-infringement.
The patentee's expert, however, had focused only on rebutting the plaintiff's expert's allegations of non-infringement, rather than setting forth his own allegations of infringement. Judge Robinson held that the plaintiff had therefore failed to offer affirmative evidence that all limitations of the patents at issue were met by the accused products, either literally or through the doctrine of equivalents, and found that the defendant had failed to show infringement.
In BigBand Networks, Inc. v. Imagine Communications, Inc., C.A. No. 07-351-LPS (D. Del. Mar. 24, 2011), Judge Stark recently issued a claim construction opinion for the four patents at issue relating to video technology. Judge Stark construed the following terms:
"selecting basic media data units to be modified, in response to the modification priority of each basic media unit"
"selecting basic media data units to be modified, in response to the modification priority"
"basic media data blocks"