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Judge Robinson grants-in-part defendant’s motion for judgment as a matter of law following verdict in plaintiff’s favor

In MobileMedia Ideas, LLC v. Apple, Inc., C.A. No. 10-258-SLR-MPT (D. Del. Sept. 5, 2013), Judge Sue L. Robinson granted defendant’s renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law with respect to invalidity and non-infringement of one patent-in-suit and with respect to invalidity of one claim of another patent-in-suit, and denied the motion in all other respects.

Following a seven-day jury trial in 2012, the jury found direct infringement and validity of the three patents-in-suit. Id. at 1. Defendant renewed its motion for judgment as a matter of law that the asserted claims of the three patents-in-suit were invalid and not infringed. Id. The three patents-in-suit (the ’075, ‘068, and ‘078 patents) “relate to a variety of technologies in information processing, computing, and mobile phones.” Id. at 3.

As to the ‘075 patent, entitled “Method and Apparatus for Incoming Call Rejection,” the Court found that its asserted claims were invalid. There was no dispute that two prior art references disclosed the limitations of the asserted claims, but the parties disputed whether there was sufficient motivation to combine them. Id. at 18. The Court concluded that the plaintiff’s expert had “only offered conclusory testimony” to rebut defendant’s evidence and testimony that a person of ordinary skill would have found it obvious to combine these references. Id. at 19. “In addition, [plaintiff’s] infringement theory conflicts with [its invalidity expert’s] opinion.” See id. at 20-21. Therefore, the Court concluded that “even if the jury had resolved all disputed facts in [plaintiff’s] favor, the evidence could not support a finding” of validity. Id. at 22. As to infringement, the Court also granted defendant’s motion because plaintiff had not presented sufficient evidence to support its infringement theory. See id. at 22-27.

As to the ‘068 patent, entitled “Communication Terminal Device and Method for Controlling a Connecting State of a Call into a Desired Connection State upon a Predetermined Operation by a User,” the Court found one asserted claim valid (Claim 23) and the other asserted claim invalid (Claim 24). Defendant’s anticipation arguments as to Claim 23 were grounded in “an untimely claim construction argument,” and the plaintiff’s expert testimony had provided sufficient support for the jury’s finding of validity. Id. at 35. But for Claim 24, unlike for Claim 23, the parties had identified a relevant “pre-trial dispute in their joint claim construction chart . . . [therefore] the court has a duty to resolve [the dispute].” Id. at 36. The Court went on to clarify the construction of a relevant term, id. at 37, and concluded that the jury’s verdict of validity of Claim 24 was “inconsistent” with the Court’s construction of the term. Id. at 38. As to infringement of the ‘068 patent, the Court denied defendant’s motion. See id. at 38-45. The Court also denied the motion as to infringement and validity of the ‘078 patent, entitled “Device for Personal Communication, Data Collection and Data Processing, and a Circuit Card.” See id. at 47-56.

Finally, the Court denied defendant’s motion for a new trial in the alternative. See id. at 56-62. Defendant argued, inter alia, that plaintiff’s statements at closing arguments that companies from whom it obtained patents “decide to invest in patents to recover research and development costs” were directed to damages and therefore improper as damages had been bifurcated. Id. at 57. The Court concluded that the statements were not directed to damages, but Instead were “used to explain what [plaintiff] does as a non-practicing entity”, and were therefore not improper. Id. at 57-58.

MobileMedia Ideas, LLC v. Apple, Inc., C.A. No. 10-258-SLR-MPT (D. Del. Sept. 5, 2013)

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