Chief Judge Sleet denied HTC’s motion to transfer pending patent litigation brought by Apple Inc. related to smartphone technology finding that “Apple’s choice of forum should prevail.” Apple Inc. v. High Tech Computer Corp., C.A. Nos. 10-166-GMS, 10-167-GMS, Memo. (D. Del. Jan. 14, 2011). Specifically, the Court found that because of other related pending cases before the court it would “serve the interests of justice and the efficient use of court resources if these issues were addressed by the same court.” Id. at 5. Although many of the witnesses and much of the relevant documentation may be located in the Northern District of California, the court noted that regardless of where the litigation goes forward “a number of witnesses must travel long distances and documents must either be shipped or produced electronically because the witnesses documents are located in several different geographical locations,” including overseas. Id. at 6. The court, therefore, denied the motion to transfer to the the Northern District of California. Id.
I am pleased to pass along an announcement from the Delaware Chapter of the Federal Bar Association regarding the Second Annual Federal Trial Practice Seminar. (A flyer is also posted below.)
The United States District Court for the District of Delaware and the Delaware Chapter of the Federal Bar Association (“FBA”) are pleased to announce the second annual Federal Trial Practice Seminar.
The Seminar is an instructional trial practice program designed for lawyers who have less than 10 years of experience as a practicing attorney, but who have an interest in regularly litigating in the District Court. Applicants who are admitted to the Seminar will participate in instructional sessions on topics including Opening Statements, Closing Statements, Direct Examination, Cross Examination, and Courtroom Presentation and Demeanor. The Seminar sessions, to be held in April and May 2011, will involve both: (1) instruction from nationally-recognized speakers who have frequently litigated in the District Court and (2) hands-on training sessions, including a mock-trial-style format, in which the participants will apply what they have learned from the speakers. These weekly sessions will also be attended by judges of the District Court and a group of program mentors, all of whom have extensive trial practice experience in the District Court. Seminar participants will also obtain Continuing Legal Education credit (including Ethics-related credit) and will have additional opportunities to interact with the District Court judges, the speakers and the program mentors outside of these sessions. There is no cost to participate in the Seminar, which is open to both members and non-members of the FBA. A complete Seminar description is attached to this e-mail.
Those interested in applying for the Seminar should submit a resume, a letter of interest and a list of two references, by February 7, 2011 to Assistant United States Attorney Christopher J. Burke. Applications should be sent either (1) by e-mail at: Christopher.J.Burke@usdoj.gov; (2) by mail at: United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Delaware; 1007 N. Orange Street, Suite 700; Wilmington, DE 19899; or (3) by facsimile at (302) 573-6220.
Judge Stark recently issued a claim construction memorandum opinion in Biovail Laboratories International SRL v. Intelgenx Corp., C.A. No. 09-605-LPS (D. Del. Dec. 27, 2010), construing two claims.
Both claim constructions were determined based on prior cases involving the same patent. The plaintiff, Biovail, has litigated this patent three times previuosly, and in the last case it failed to show infringement due in part to a construction of “free of stabilizer.” Now, Biovail attempted to get around that construction by offering a definition of “stabilizer” by itself. The Court determined that collateral estoppel prevents Biovail from offering a definition of “stabilizer” that contradicts the previously litigated definition of “free of stabilizer,” and held Biovail to the prior construction. Id. at 5-8.
The Court also addressed a second term, “dissolution profile,” and again tracked the logic of one of the prior cases (although it treated it only as persuasive authority). Id. at 8-11.
Recently, in Infineon Technologies AG v. Volterra Semiconductor Corp., C.A. No. 10-47 (GMS) (D. Del. Jan. 13, 2011), Chief Judge Sleet granted a stay a District of Delaware case in light of a related case pending in the Northern District of California. The cases are related in that the patent at issue here is a “key invalidity reference” in the Northern District of California case.
In LadaTech, LLC v. Illumina, Inc., C.A. No. 09-627-SLR (Jan. 3, 2011), a recent Special Master decision, Plaintiff wanted its General Counsel, who was also one of three directors of the company, to have access to all confidential information produced in the case. Plaintiff argued that its General Counsel was not a competitive decisionmaker, or in the alternative, the threat of inadvertent disclosure “should not deprive [Plaintiff] of its choice of counsel.” Id. at 2. The Special Master quoted the “competitive decisionmaker” standard from In re Deutsche Bank Trust Co., 605 F.3d 1373, 1378 (Fed. Cir. 2010), i.e. “counsel’s activities, association, and relationship with a client that are such as to involve counsel’s advice and participation in any or all of the client’s decisions (pricing, product design, etc.) made in light of similar or corresponding information about a competitor.” Id. at 4. The Special Master also noted that due to the General Counsel’s “unique role” in the organization, there was a legitimate concern regarding inadvertent disclosure. Id. at 6.
Despite acknowledging that Plaintiff’s outside counsel were fully capable of advising their client, and that Plaintiff didn’t indicate how General Counsel’s access to confidential information was vital to the suit, the Special Master decided that “the court should not deny [Plaintiff] the opportunity to meaningfully participate in the prosecution of its case. Id. at 7. However, the Special Master conditioned General Counsel’s access to all confidential information on his agreement to a prosecution bar and to forgo engaging in competitive decisionmaking. Id.
On Wednesday, District Judge Sue L. Robinson issued a summary judgment decision notable for its assessment of a party’s expert evidence. Although the Court eventually granted defendant Cisco’s motion for summary judgment of noninfringement, it rejected, as part of the claim construction process, Cisco’s attempt to rely on an article written by its adversary’s expert:
“Defendant does not cite its own expert in support of its argument [on the claim in issue]. Instead, defendant cites wi-fiplanet.com, a website that contains an article written by plaintiff’s expert . . . . The court disagrees that this article supports defendant’s contention . . . . The article does not say that a person of skill in the art would consider a controller to be separate from the access point, nor does it discuss the meaning of the term ‘access point’ as used in the ‘858 patent.”
According to the Court, plaintiff’s expert “directly contradict[ed] defendant’s argument” at his deposition. In the evidentiary battle of the article versus the deposition, the deposition won.
Judge Robinson transferred a false marking case where one of the plaintiffs and the defendant are engaged in patent infringement over four of the same patents at issue in the false marking case (even though it was not the first-filed action), the defendant is not a Delaware corporation and maintains only a small market for its goods in Delaware. Brinkmeier v. Exergen Corporation, C.A. No. 10-176-SLR, Memo. Order (D. Del. Jan. 3, 2011).
Judge Stark recently considered third party Anvik Corporation’s motion for a limited intervention to obtain copies of evidence in LG Display Co., Ltd. v. AU Optronics Corp, et al., C.A. No. 06-726-LPS (D. Del. Dec. 29, 2010). Anvik filed a patent infringement action in the Southern District of New York against the parties to this litigation in the District of Delaware. Anvik contended that certain documents filed under seal were relevant to its claims in the New York case involving inducement of importation of the same products at issue in Delaware. Id. at 1. LG and AUO opposed Anvik’s motion, primarily because granting Anvik’s motion would modify the hotly contested Protective Order in the Delaware case. Id. Moreover, AUO argued that it had already produced documents from the Delaware case that overlapped with the New York action and Anvik had not identified what other information it seeks. Id. at 2.
Judge Stark granted Anvik’s motion to intervene, but ultimately found that Anvik had “not demonstrated that modification of the Protective Order is warranted.” Id. at 5-6. “The parties’ reliance on the Protective Order weighs in favor of the Court preserving the confidentiality of the underlying documents sought by Anvik. . . . Anvik has not demonstrated that the disclosure of the confidential materials would aid the discovery process in the New York action[.]” Id. at 6. In addition, Judge Stark disregarded Anvik’s argument that it was entitled to the documents under the public right of access to judicial records because such argument was argued for the first time in Anvik’s reply brief. Id. at 7.
District Judge Leonard P. Stark issued a decision on Monday staying an infringement action in favor of two pending reexamination proceedings. The Court noted that a related Delaware action, which involves the same plaintiffs asserting the same patents against different defendants, has already been stayed. Given this circumstance, the Court highlighted the judicial economy concerns of allowing the second action to proceed:
“Permitting Plaintiffs to pursue their claims against [defendant], while their essentially identical action against the ten other defendants in the related action is stayed, would undermine judicial economy. Such a course of action would deprive the Court of the opportunity to consolidate the related actions for discovery, Markman proceedings, motions practice, and, possibly, trial.”