Although a plaintiff's choice of forum is typically given great weight, Judge Pisano in granting a defendant's motion to transfer to the Northern District of California, recently afforded less deference to a plaintiff's choice to litigate in Delaware where Delaware was not plaintiff's "home turf" and none of the allegedly infringing acts occurred in Delaware. Qinetiq Limited v. Oclaro, Inc., C.A. No. 09-372-JAP, Opinion (D. Del. Dec. 18, 2009). Defendant's only connection to Delaware in this matter was the fact that it is a Delaware corporation. Id. at 7. This alone was not enough to warrant litigating the action in Delaware and therefore the Court transferred the case to the Northern District of California. Id. at 8.
In this patent infringement action, Quantum Loyalty Systems, Inc., et al. v. TPG Rewards, Inc., et al., C.A. No. 09-022-SLR-MPT (D. Del. Dec. 23, 2009), Defendant John Galinos (“Galinos”) moved to dismiss plaintiffs’ complaint for lack of personal jurisdiction and Defendants TPG Rewards, Inc. (“TPG”) and Galinos (collectively “Defendants”) moved to dismiss plaintiffs’ complaint for failure to state a claim for which relief may be granted. Regarding Galinos jurisdiction motion, Judge Thynge noted that the specific jurisdiction provisions of the Delaware long arm statute, 10 Del. C. § 3104(c)(1) and (c)(3), require plaintiff to prove a “nexus between the cause of action and the conduct used as the basis for jurisdiction.” Id. at 11 (internal quotation omitted). However, plaintiffs only allegation in support of jurisdiction was that Galinos incorporated TPG in Delaware, despite that the cause of action for patent infringement “[did] not arise from the act of incorporating.” Id. Furthermore, “the fiduciary shield doctrine prohibits acts performed by an individual in the individual’s capacity as a corporate employee from serving as the basis for personal jurisdiction over that individual.” Id. (internal quotation omitted). Plaintiffs alleged no facts “Galinos personally made, used, offered to sell, or sold any alleged infringing product in Delaware.” Id. at 12. Furthermore, plaintiffs failed to point to any support for the contention that any injury, under 10 Del. C. § 3104(c)(3), occurred in Delaware. Id. In fact, plaintiffs were incorporated in Nevada and had a principal place of business in Nevada, such that any injury would have occurred in Nevada. Id. at 12-13.
After finding that plaintiffs also failed to allege sufficient contacts to support a finding of general jurisdiction, Judge Thynge recommended the Court grant Defendants’ motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim because the facts support the conclusion that plaintiff claimed “infringement by a product whose only appearance in the market preceded the critical date of the patent-in-suit.” Id. at 21-22. “[P]roof that [defendants’] product infringes [plaintiffs’] patent would also prove that the product anticipates under 35 U.S.C. § 102(b) . . . .” Id. at 22.
District judge Sue L. Robinson recently denied a request for a permanent injunction in part on the ground that the movant failed to supply the necessary documentary and analytical evidence to prove irreparable harm. By doing so, the Court implicitly gave guidance to litigators seeking to satisfy their evidentiary burden under the so-called e-Bay factors:
"[P]laintiff's case suffers from several fatal flaws. It is most problematic that plaintiff points to no documentary (or other) evidence regarding the effects of defendants' infringement (on plaintiff). As noted previously, the court has no market data before it. There is also no clear indication of a direct link between defendants' infringing sales . . . , loss of goodwill to plaintiff or, more broadly, a change in the market landscape." (at 9-10)
Notably, the Court also dismissed the credibility of the evidence plaintiff did offer - a declaration by plaintiff's president of product strategy - characterizing it as "rife with impermissible speculation" (at 6 n.11) and "self-serving" statements (at 9 n.15). The lesson is clear: an argument on irreparable harm must be built on some evidence beyond a party's declaration.
Judge Stark recently considered Defendants’ Motion to Strike and Dismiss in his Report and Recommendation in Power integrations, Inc. v. Fairchild Semiconductor Int’l, Inc., et al., C.A. No. 08-309-JJF-LPS (D. Del. Dec. 18, 2009). Plaintiff filed this patent infringement action alleging that defendants infringed three of plaintiff’s patents. Defendants subsequently filed counterclaims alleging that plaintiff infringed three of defendants’ patents. Plaintiff’s answer, filed simultaneously with the Federal Circuit’s issuance of an opinion in Exergen, included “defenses and counterclaims based on [defendants’] allegedly inequitable conduct during the prosecution of the asserted [defendants’] patents.” Id. at 2. Both plaintiff and defendants subsequently filed various amended answers and amended counterclaims. Id.
Defendants’ pending motion was directed at plaintiff’s counterclaims alleging inequitable conduct. Id. Plaintiff’s counterclaim alleged that “‘at least one of the named inventors and at least one of the patent agents of records, with knowledge of the withheld material information and the specific intent to deceive, failed to disclose to the PTO material, non-cumulative prior art known to them during prosecution.’” Id. at 3 (citation omitted). Defendants argued that plaintiff failed to meet the heightened pleading standard under Exergen because plaintiff failed to prove “a particularized basis for its claims of inequitable conduct or the inferences that must be drawn with respect to knowledge and intent.” Id. at 14. Judge Stark agreed, “to a limited extent.” Id. For example, plaintiff’s counterclaim related to its ‘972 patent against a patent agent that prosecuted co-pending patents, but not the one in question, failed to be pled with particularity because “[the patent agent] was not the patent agent who prosecuted the ‘972 patent . . . and [plaintiff] does not allege any facts to show that [the patent agent] was otherwise an “‘individual associated with the filing or prosecution of’ the ‘972 patent.” Id. at 15 (citing Exergen). With regard to plaintiff’s ‘780 patent, Judge Stark found that plaintiff failed “to allege the ‘what’ and ‘where’ of its inequitable conduct allegations. Id. at 16.
In this multidistrict litigation consolidating nine patent infringement actions, Judge Stark recently issued a Report and Recommendation Regarding Motions for Summary Judgment and to Dismiss and Order on Evidentiary Motions. In re Rosuvastatin Calcium Patent Litig., MDL No. 08-1949 (D. Del. Dec. 11, 2009). One such motion was Defendant Aurobindo India’s Motion for Summary Judgment of No Personal Jurisdiction. Id. at 5. Aurobindo India argued that if it is dismissed from the case, so must defendant Aurobindo USA because of the absence of “the necessary and indispensible Aurobindo India.” Id. However, Judge Stark agreed with plaintiffs that under Forest Labs., Inv. v. Cobalt Labs., Inc., 2009 WL 605745 (D. Del. Mar. 9, 2009), and considering the record, id. at 6-9, there was sufficient evidence to conclude that “Aurobindo USA ‘engages in [a] persistent course of conduct’ in Delaware, thereby establishing general jurisdiction.” Id. at 9 (citing 10 Del. C. § 3104(c)(4). Moreover, “[u]nder the alter ego and agency theories, these jurisdictional contacts of Aurobindo USA may be imputed to Aurobindo India.” Id.
A different result was reached when Judge Stark considered defendant Apotex Inc.’s Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Personal Jurisdiction or in the Alternative to Transfer to the Middle District of Florida. Id. at 10. Here, Judge Stark found insufficient contacts with Delaware but that transfer was warranted. Id. Judge Stark noted that “Apotex Inc. is a Canadian corporation with a principal place of business in Canada. It has no offices, facilities, telephone listings, bank accounts, or property in Delaware. It does not have employees, or do business, in Delaware.” Id. at 11. Although plaintiffs argued that defendant Apotex Corp.’s contacts with Delaware should be imputed to Apotex Inc., the same argument that was successful with the Aurobindo defendants, here, Judge Stark found that plaintiffs failed to meet their burden. Id. “Apotex Corp. generates its own revenue, with which it purchases the products it sells. Apotex Corp. decides which of Apotex Inc.’s approved products it will market. Apotex Corp. pays Apotex Inc. for administrative services rendered by Apotex Inc. and the two companies maintain distinct books, records, financial statements, and tax returns.” Id. at 11-12. Judge Stark subsequently transferred the suit against Apotex Inc. to Florida, where Apotex Inc. conceded jurisdiction exists. Id. at 12.
Where is the line between rehashing arguments and offering new evidence in seeking reconsideration of a ruling? According to a recent decision by district judge Sue L. Robinson, the waiver doctrine can play a primary role in this determination.
In disposing of a request to recalculate a lost-profits award, the Court noted that the movant never raised its remittitur argument in the initial post-trial proceedings. As a result, the movant not only waived its ability to raise the argument, but also prompted a rebuke from the Court:
"The present motion reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the limited appropriateness of motions for reconsideration. There is no alleged change in law or new evidence. A 'manifest injustice' does not result from the court's failure to consider arguments not properly made by defendant in its prior motion to amend the judgment. As this court has iterated in previous cases, a motion for reconsideration is not properly grounded on a request that a court rethink a decision already made."
Strong words to consider when formulating positions for a post-trial (or any) motion.
In Power Integrations, Inc. v. Fairchild Semiconductor International, Inc., et al., C.A. No. 08-309-JJF-LPS (D. Del. Dec. 18, 2009), Judge Stark recently construed the following claim terms.
“multi-sampling . . . during an off-time of said switching signal”sampling two or more times during one off-time of the switching signal
“a controller to generate the switching signal and to control the switching signal in response to a first feedback signal associated with a voltage control loop and a second feedback signal associated with a current control loop”a controller to generate the switching signal and to control the switching signal in response to a first feedback signal associated with a voltage control loop and a second feedback signal, distinct from the first feedback signal, associated with a current control loop
“controlling a switching signal to regulate the connection of the electrical power to output terminals in response to a first feedback signal associated with a voltage control loop and a second feedback signal associated with a current control loop”controlling a switching signal to regulate the connection of the electrical power to output terminals in response to a first feedback signal associated with a voltage control loop and a second feedback signal, distinct from the first feedback signal, associated with a current control loop
“sampling a voltage . . . and a discharge time”sampling a voltage from the auxiliary winding of the transformer when the transformer is discharging
“frequency variation signal”an internal signal that cyclically varies in magnitude during a fixed period of time and is used to modulate the frequency of the oscillation signal within a predetermined frequency range
“frequency jittering”varying the switching frequency of a switch mode power supply about a target frequency in order to reduce electromagnetic interference
“means coupled to the control input for varying the switching frequency, including: one or more current sources . . . and a counter”Means-plus function term, with a function of “varying the switching frequency of the oscillator,” and a structure of a digital-to-analog converter and a counter having at least four bits
As most everyone is aware by now, new amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure became effective as of December 1, 2009 that change the way that deadlines are computed under the rules. The District Court of Delaware recently posted on its website, the following information regarding the computation time:
TIME (COMPUTATION OF TIME): Effective 12/1/2009, CM/ECF will no longer exclude intermediate weekends and holidays when calculating deadlines less than 11 days. Deadlines will be calculated in accordance with the changes to Fed.R.Civ.P.6 (i.e., 5 day deadlines will become 7 day deadlines, 10 and 15 day deadlines will become 14 day deadlines, etc.). CM/ECF will add 3 calendar days for mailing, as prescribed in the Administrative Procedures for Filing and Service by Electronic Means.
The District Court has also posted proposed amendments to the local rules for comment. These new local rules were drafted to address the December amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and other court practices and procedures. Some proposed changes include the following:
- The addition of Rule 5.1(b) which states that when computing time periods under the federal rules, the clerk's office "shall be deemed inaccessible" any time when it is closed due to inclement weather.
- The rules that contained certain time deadlines were changed to conform to the federal rules including changes to the 10 day time period for filing an answering brief to 14 days and the 5 day period for filing a reply brief to 7 days.
- The proposal also changes Rule 7.1.3(a)(4) to limit all opening and answering briefs to 20 pages and all reply briefs to 10 pages (the current rule allows for 40 page opening and answering briefs and 20 page reply briefs).
- Rule 7.1.5(a) is also changed to limit all motions for reargument and answering briefs to 10 pages. Also added to this rule is a provision prohibiting the filing of a motion for reargument where an objection to a Report and Recommendation by a Magistrate Judge has been filed.
- Reasonable notice for a deposition pursuant to Rule 30 has been changed to "not less than 10 days."
Other proposed changes are shown in the redline of the current District of Delaware Local Rules attached below. The public has been asked to comment on the revisions by February 1, 2010.
12/2: Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, Novartis Corporation, et al. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. (patent infringement)
12/2: Cephalon Inc. and Cephalon France v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (patent infringement)
12/2: Konarka Technologies, DuPont Displays Inc. and The Regents of the University of California v. Plextronics Inc. (patent infringement)
12/2: In re: Cyclobenzaprine Hydrochloride Extended-Release Capsule Patent Litigation (patent infringement)
12/2: Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. v. Sharp Corporation, Sharp Electronics Corporation and Sharp Electronics Manufacturing Company of America Inc. (patent infringement)
12/2: Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd. and Takeda Pharmaceutical North America Inc. v. Watson Laboratories, Inc.- Florida, Watson Pharma Inc. and Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. (patent infringement)
12/3: Pfizer Inc., Pfizer Ireland Pharmaceuticals, Warner-Lambert Company and Warner-Lambert Company LLC v. Kremers Urban LLC and KUDCO Ireland Ltd. (patent infringement)
12/7: Eurand Inc., Cephalon, Inc. and Anesta AG v. Anchen Pharmaceuticals and Anchen Inc. (patent infringement)
12/8: Cephalon Inc. and Cephalon France v. Actavis Group, Actavis Pharma Manufacturing Pvt Ltd. and Actavis, Inc. (patent infringement)
12/8: Delta Airlines Inc. v. Applied Interact LLC (patent infringement)
12/8: Eurand Inc., Cephalon, Inc. and Anesta AG v. Anchen Pharmaceuticals and Anchen Inc. (patent infringement)
12/8: LG Household & Healthcare Ltd. v. Procter & Gamble Company (patent infringement)
12/8: Pfizer Inc., Pfizer Ireland Pharmaceuticals, Warner-Lambert Company and Warner-Lambert Company LLC v. Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd. and Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, Inc. (patent infringement)
12/10: Seattle Children's Hospital, Novartis AG, Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, Inc. and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation v. Teva Parenteral Medicines Inc., Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. (patent infringement)
12/11: Cephalon Inc. and Cephalon France v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., Mylan, Inc., Matrix Laboratories Ltd. and Matrix Laboratories Inc. (patent infringement)
In document discovery, relevance is broadly construed. But the doctrine has its limits. In a recent decision by magistrate judge Mary Pat Thynge, the Court rejected as irrelevant a request for documents concerning certain properties embodied in two prior art products. According to the Court, the request, made in part to support assertions of obviousness, could not illuminate the sufficiency of the defense:
"That the inherent teaching of a prior art reference is applicable to obviousness does not make the information requested by Mylan relevant since . . . obviousness is an objective legal construct, measured by whether the inherency would have been obvious to one skilled in the art."
As a result, the Court held that, as a matter of law, the requested documents were irrelevant to the issue of obviousness.
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