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In Princeton Digital Image Corporation v. Konami Digital Entertainment Inc., et al., C.A. Nos. 12-1461 & 13-335-LPS-CJB (D. Del. Jan. 15, 2014), Magistrate Judge Christopher J. Burke granted defendants’ motions to stay where one defendant had filed a request for inter partes review (“IPR”) that had yet to be granted by the PTO.

Simplification of issues only weighed slightly in favor of a stay. While a high percentage of the claims were potentially at issue in the IPR, it was also too early in the case to tell how much overlap there would be in issues between the two proceedings. Id. at 5-6. Even if not all claims were cancelled, the IPR could still simplify some issues due to its estoppel effect, although that simplification would only apply to the defendant that filed the IPR petition. Id. at 4-5.

The stage of the litigation “on balance more strongly favor[ed] the moving parties,” id. at 9, where i) discovery was “in its nascent stages,” id. at 9, and ii) substantive proceedings already held (i.e., early Markman, a hearing on a motion to dismiss, and a discovery dispute) actually “served to emphasize how the cases are not close to resolution at all.” Id. at 8 n.6.

As to the potential prejudice to the plaintiff, the Court found that the timing of the motions to stay did not suggest an attempt to gain an inappropriate tactical advantage. Id. at 12. Among other things, the Court was not persuaded by plaintiff’s arguments that, out of “gamesmanship,” the defendant who filed the IPR had concealed its intention to file the IPR when it requested early Markman and a stay of discovery deadlines. Id. at 11. Therefore this sub-factor weighed in favor of a stay. However, while IPR proceedings “promise[] to be a more expeditious process” than inter partes reexamination proceedings, because the PTO had not yet determined whether to grant review, the early status of the IPR proceeding weighed against granting a stay. Id. at 12. As plaintiff was a non-practicing entity, the parties in this case were not direct competitors, and thus this final sub-factor within the prejudice analysis weighed in favor of a stay. Id. at 13. On balance, the prejudice factor weighed in favor of a stay. Id.

Because “[t]he potential for simplifying the issues, the current status of this litigation and the amount of undue prejudice associated with the stay requests all favor a stay, to at least some degree,” the Court granted the motions. Id. at 14.

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This case involves several defendants who are accused of infringing the plaintiff’s patents related to elevator devices and methods. Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment requesting dismissal of “improper defendants” and dismissal of all indirect infringement claims.

Judge Andrews found that defendant ThyssenKrupp Elevator Americas Corporation (“TKEA”) was merely a holding company and that the plaintiff’s citations to websites to show that it engaged in activities beyond that of a holding company were not sufficient to show that it engaged in conduct establishing direct infringement. Judge Andrews further rejected plaintiff’s alter ego and agency theories that TKEA was liable because plaintiff did not show commingling of assets, dominion or control over subsidiaries, or corporate fraud. Accordingly, Judge Andrews granted summary judgment for dismissal of TKEA. Inventio AG v. Thyssenkrupp Elevator Americas Corp., et al., C.A. No. 08-874-RGA, Memo. Or. at 2-4 (D. Del. Jan. 16, 2014).

Defendant ThyssenKrupp Elevator Manufacturing Incorporated (“TKEM”) was slightly more complicated. TKEM asserted that it was not liable for infringement because it had not performed all of the steps of the asserted method claim or sold a system with all of the elements of the asserted apparatus claims. Because the plaintiff did not provide evidence that every step of the asserted method claim was performed directly by or under the direction of TKEM, Judge Andrews granted summary judgment of non-infringement as to that method claim. Id. at 4-5. With respect to the other claims, the plaintiff was unable to show that TKEM sold the “final part” of the accused device, only that TKEM sold “all of the key components of the infringing system.” Accordingly, Judge Andrews found that the plaintiff could not show that all claim limitations were met and therefore granted summary judgment of non-infringement as to TKEM. Id. at 5-6.

Finally, Judge Andrews considered a motion to preclude untimely indirect infringement claims. The parties disputed whether the plaintiff had timely disclosed theories of indirect infringement. Judge Andrews, however, found this summary judgment motion to be moot because the complaint did not allege indirect infringement and “[d]uring the lengthy lifetime of this case, the Plaintiff has not amended the Complaint” and “the time to amend the complaint has long since passed.” Id. at 7-8.

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In Robocast, Inc. v. Microsoft Corporation, C.A. No. 10-555-RGA and Robocast, Inc. v. Apple Inc., C.A. No. 11-235-RGA (D. Del. Jan. 16, 2016), Judge Richard G. Andrews denied in part defendants’ motion to exclude the testimony of plaintiff’s liability expert. As Judge Andrews explained, defendants objected to the expert’s testimony on the grounds that “he applied the incorrect legal standard regarding conception, that he did not analyze all of the claim elements and applied an incorrect legal standard for written description, and that he failed to apply the Court’s claim construction in analyzing infringement.” Id. at 1.

As to the conception issue, Judge Andrews noted that the defendants’ argument boiled down to “what standard must be applied to corroborating evidence.” Id. According to Judge Andrews, defendants essentially argued that “the corroborating evidence itself must contain an enabling disclosure.” Id. at 2. Judge Andrews found, however, that courts have applied the “rule of reason,” which was “developed . . . to ease the requirement of corroboration.” Id. at 3. Judge explained that “if corroborating documents were themselves enabling disclosures, then conception would never need to be proved via inventor testimony, as the documents would speak for themselves.” Id. Judge Andrews concluded that the “real issue is whether the corroborating documents provide enough evidence for the jury to believe this testimony, not whether the documents themselves are enabling disclosures.” Id.

With respect to the written description issue, defendants asserted, among other things, that the expert “failed to address each and every claim element, and identify written description support for them in the provisional and parent application.” Id. at 4. In rebuttal, plaintiff argued that because “the PTO awarded a priority date of September 3, 1996, it is the Defendants’ burden to disprove entitlement to that priority date by clear and convincing evidence.” Id. Addressing plaintiff’s rebuttal, Judge Andrews explained that priority is awarded on a claim-by-claim basis, and pointed out that the Examiner from the PTO only made a priority finding with respect to claim 1. Id. Thus, according to Judge Andrews, plaintiff was still required to prove entitlement to its alleged priority date with respect to the remainder of the claims at issue. Id. Judge Andrews found that plaintiff’s expert did not show where each and every claim element found support in the alleged priority application for the remainder of the claims. Id. at 5. On the other hand, Judge Andrews found that defendants’ experts contested only specific elements, and plaintiff’s expert should therefore not be faulted for “failing to address apparent nonissues.” Id. at 5-6. Judge Andrews concluded that if plaintiff’s expert “needs to supplement his reports on the non-controversial elements, the parties should promptly meet and confer, and, if they cannot come to an agreement, file letters outlining their problem(s).” Id. at 6.

Turning to the claim construction issue, Judge Andrews concluded that defendants’ argument that the expert failed to apply the Court’s claim construction was “merely a repackaging of Defendants’ summary judgment arguments and is not properly considered in a Daubert motion. Accordingly, this argument will be dealt with in the Court’s ruling on the summary judgment motions.” Id. at 6.

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In a recent Order, Magistrate Judge Joel Schneider of the District of New Jersey, sitting by designation, denied a defendant’s motion for attorneys’ fees, filed after the defendant prevailed on summary judgment and the plaintiff noticed its appeal. Bayer CropScience AG, et al., v. Dow AgroSciences LLC, C.A. No. 12-256 (RMB/JS) (D. Del. Jan. 10, 2014). Given that the plaintiff’s appeal of the summary judgment order was pending, the Court recognized it could either rule on the defendant’s motion for fees, defer ruling until after the appeal, or deny the motion without prejudice to refile at a later date. It viewed the first option as inefficient in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s anticipated June 2014 decision in Icon Health & Fitness, Inc. v. Octane Fitness, a decision the Court anticipated would help “define and clarify the standard the Court must use to decide whether this is an exceptional case.” The Court also “[saw] no benefit to indefinitely delaying a ruling on [the plaintiff’s] motion” pending the resolution of the appeal, because such a potentially lengthy delay could result in faded memories about the issues addressed in the motion, especially if any of the attorneys involved left their current law firms. The Court decided, therefore, that the best option was to deny the motion without prejudice to the defendant’s re-filing it within 20 days of the Supreme Court’s issuance of its opinion in Octane Fitness.

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We previously reported on Judge Sleet’s in limine rulings directed to Section 271(f) and European Patent Office proceedings in patent litigation related to aortic valve stents between Edwards Lifesciences and Medtronic Corevalve. After a jury trial last week, the jury awarded Edwards Lifesciences lost profit damages and reasonable royalties.

The verdict form has been made public and shows that the jury found direct infringement, willful infringement, infringement pursuant to Section 271(f), and that the patents-in-suit were valid. The jury awarded $388.8 million of lost profits and $4.8 million of reasonable royalty for infringing sales not subject to lost profits.

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Chief Judge Gregory M. Sleet recently considered defendant’s letter request to file a summary judgment motion on the issue of whether the Certificate of Correction for the patent-in-suit was invalid because the error it corrected was not minor under 35 U.S.C. § 255. Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Hospira, Inc., C.A. No. 12-367-GMS (D. Del. Jan. 15, 2014). Judge Sleet denied the request because “[w]hile the instant issue is a question of law, the court found in its claim construction order that ‘the determination of whether the stereochemistry correction is properly considered a correction of ‘minor character’ presents questions requiring expert testimony regarding the nature of the error and its correction.'” Id. at 2. Because underlying issues of fact remained as to whether the Certificate of Correction was invalid, Judge Sleet denied defendant’s request. Id.

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Judge Richard G. Andrews recently issued the Court’s modified claim constructions after ordering the parties to reargue claim terms, “as a result of the Court becoming more familiar with the technology at issue in this case.” Inventio AG v. Thyssenkrupp Elevator Americas Corp., C.A. No. 08-874-RGA (D. Del. Jan. 14, 2014). The Court’s original opinion construing the claim terms of the patents-at-issue, U.S. Patent Nos. 6,935,465 and 6,892,861, was issued by Judge Robreno, sitting by designation.

Judge Andrews construed the following terms:

“elevator control”
“at least one of [A] and [B]”
“interrupting at least one existing car call transmitter line between at least one car call
transmitter and the elevator control”
“interrupting at least one existing electrical floor call transmitter line between at least
one floor call transmitter and the elevator control”
“the elevator control being disconnected from the hall call transmitters and the car call
transmitters of the elevator installation”
“modernized” and “modernizing”
“elevator installation”

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Judge Richard G. Andrews recently denied defendants’ Daubert motion to exclude the testimony of plaintiff’s computer forensics expert. Robocast, Inc. v. Microsoft Corporation, C.A. No. 10-1055-RGA; Robocast, Inc. v. Apple, Inc., C.A. No. 11-235-RGA (D. Del. Jan. 13, 2014). Plaintiff offered this expert in rebuttal to defendants’ computer forensics expert who may testify as to “suspicious metadata” that recorded the creation date of a letter that was “essential” to defendants’ inequitable conduct and unclean hands defenses and that may also impact the date of conception. Id. at 2. Defendants argued that plaintiff’s expert did not “tie his theories to the facts of the case, and that therefore his testimony is not helpful to the jury.” Id. at 1. However, the Court found that “many jurors may indeed be confused by the concept of metadata, and [the expert’s] testimony may be helpful.” Id. at 1-2. The Court also did not find the expert’s theories unreliable. Id. at 3. “The underlying story” behind the expert’s explanation of the metadata “may or may not be plausible. Its status, however, is irrelevant to whether [the expert’s] proposed testimony meets Daubert’s reliability requirement.” Id. at 3 n.3.

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In two recent memorandum opinions issued on the same day, Judge Sue L. Robinson ruled on a host of pretrial motions and construed claim terms of patents relating to the receipt and descrambling of encrypted broadcast signals. British Telecommunications PLC v. Coxcom, Inc., et al., Civ. No. 10-658-SLR (“First Opinion”); 11-843 (D. Del. Jan. 13, 2014) (“Second Opinion”).

In the First Opinion, the following claim limitations were construed by the Court:

Plaintiff’s U.S. Patent No. 6,473,742:

–“means for loading the store with such data”
–“to enable or disable reception [of transmissions] in dependence on the result of the comparison”
–“means for comparing received identifiers with the contents of the store and to enable or disable reception in dependence on the result of the comparison”
–“wherein each of the fixed and removable parts has] means storing a verification number”
Plaintiff’s U.S. Patent No. 6,538,989:

–“flow based packets”
–“packet buffer”
–“packet buffer size”
–“controlling the first packet buffer size”
Plaintiff’s U.S. Patent No. 5,142,532:

–“a bidirectional broadband and telephone network”
–“for information packets to travel without interference to and from a plurality of receiving stations”
–“round-trip delay”
–“adjusting the round-trip delay to ensure correct spacing of the information packets during passage through the network”
–“enforcing allocation thereto to ensure each station’s minimum bandwidth requirements is [sic] fulfilled”
–“wherein the requesting step includes … generating a further request if an error is detected”
Plaintiff’s U.S. Patent No. 5,526,350:

–“switching means”
Plaintiff’s U.S. Patent No. 5,923,247:

–“ conditions causing unavailability of a system”
Based on the Court’s constructions, the Court denied motions for summary judgment on non-infringement and validity grounds, except for the following:

The Court granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment of non-infringement of the ‘742 patent, because the defendant’s accused product included a second level decryption that did not meet the requirements of the limitations. First Opinion at 17. The Court also granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment of non-infringement, explaining that the ‘350 patent specification failed to provide sufficient structure to perform the function, such that the term is indefinite. Specifically, the Court explained, “[w]ithout an example or description of a non-voice traffic switching device, the specification does not provide sufficient structure of the means-plus-function claim limitation, which requires two switching means.” For the same reason, the Court granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment that the ‘350 patent is invalid as indefinite. Id. at 27-28.

The Court next considered Defendant’s Daubert motion to exclude Plaintiff’s expert. The Court first found that Defendant’s arguments as they related to direct infringement went to the weight of the expert’s testimony, not its admissibility, so the Daubert motion was denied with respect to direct infringement testimony. But the Court reached a different conclusion regarding the expert’s testimony relating to infringement under the doctrine of equivalents. The Court agreed with Defendant that Plaintiff’s expert “presented conclusions for each limitation, he did not articulate how the accused devices would equivalently perform each limitation.” Id. at 38-39. Therefore, the Court granted Defendant’s Daubert motion with respect to doctrine of equivalents testimony.

The Court also granted Plaintiff’s motion to strike an employee’s declaration in support of one of Defendant’s motions for summary judgment, finding that it was undisclosed expert testimony: “As [Defendant] did not identify [the employee] as an expert witness, nor were his opinions vetted through discovery, the court grants [Plaintiff’s] motion to exclude.” Id. at 12.

The Court also granted Defendant’s motion to strike portions of declarations submitted by two of Plaintiff’s expert. Defendant argued that the declarations included opinion testimony that had not been previously disclosed, which the Plaintiff disputed. However, the Court concluded that if the opinions had previously been disclosed in expert reports, “[Plaintiff] should have referenced those documents.” Id. at 12.

In the Court’s Second Opinion, the Court first granted Defendant’s motion to strike portions of Plaintiff’s expert’s declarations, finding that the declarations inappropriately provided “additional examples of non-infringing uses, some conclusory explanations, and comparisons to claim limitations” that were consistent with Plaintiff’s earlier expert disclosures, but had not “been vetted through discovery” and/or were conclusory and therefore not appropriate for review on summary judgment. Second Opinion at 4.

The Court next found, after interpreting under New York law a cross-licensing agreement between Plaintiff and a third party supplier to Defendant, that it could not conclude that Defendant was an “authorized third party” under that agreement, and therefore that it could not find that Defendant was impliedly licensed to use the patents. With respect to another third party supplier license, the Court rejected Defendant’s argument seeking an implied license, because that license specifically precluded the conferring of any implied licenses. Id. at 6-12.

Finally, the Court denied Defendant’s motion for summary judgment that the patents were unenforceable under the patent exhaustion doctrine as a result of the third party licensee’s sales to Defendant. The Court explained that neither party provided sufficient evidence of non-infringing uses to support the patent exhaustion defense. Id. at 15-19.

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Vehicle Interface Technologies has asserted a patent against several automotive manufacturers that claims a user interface for various systems of an automobile including both information about the vehicle and information for other “optional subsystems” of the vehicle. The only claim term disputed by the parties for Markman purposes was “wherein the fixed area and the selectable area each comprise a unique and static portion of the display.” Vehicle Interface Techs., LLC v. Ferrari N. Am., et al., C.A. Nos. 12-1283-RGA, Memo. Op. at 5 (D. Del. Jan. 13, 2014). Judge Andrews noted that the parties were essentially in agreement as to most of the term and that he agreed that portion was correct.

The only disputed part of the term was, therefore, “whether to include the additional limitation that a selectable area cannot display vehicle information, as the Defendants propose.” This dispute arose from an argument made in prosecution to overcome a prior art reference that disclosed vehicle information and selectable information in the same display area. Id. at 5-6. Judge Andrews found that the prosecution history “makes it clear that it is the fixed and selectable areas that must be separate, and not necessarily the content in those respective areas.” Id. at 6-7. Furthermore, the claims and the specification conflicted with the Defendants’ proposed limitation. Id. at 7-8. Accordingly, Judge Andrews found that it would be incorrect to include the Defendants’ proposed limitation and adopted the construction “Wherein the fixed area and the selectable area have non-overlapping and non-moving boundaries and the fixed area does not display any of the plurality of pages.”

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