In Masimo Corporation v. Philips Electronic North America Corporation, et al., C.A. Nos. 09-80, 11-742-LPS-MPT, Magistrate Judge Mary Pat Thynge previously issued three Reports and Recommendations addressing the parties’ motions for summary judgment and Daubert motions. Having heard oral argument on the parties’ objections, Judge Leonard P. Stark has issued rulings relating to the Reports. Memorandum Opinion (D. Del. Mar. 31, 2014).
The Court first offered “comments about how it views objections to Reports and Recommendations filed by Magistrate Judges.” Id. at 2. While the only issues on appeal to the District Court are those that are specifically addressed in objections, parties do not waive their right to appeal to the Federal Circuit if they do not lodge objections to a Report and Recommendation. Id. at 3-5. The Court then explained that “generalized” objections to a Report and Recommendation are “unhelpful” and insufficient to preserve a party’s right to District Judge review; the Court, therefore, construed any objection raised by the parties here, but not briefed, as waived with regard to review by a District Judge. Id. at 5-7. It was also inappropriate for a party to incorporate underlying briefs by reference in their objection “as a way of avoiding the page limits on objections.” Id. at 8. Parties must also adhere to their original arguments when objecting, and not offer new ones, but may “explain their view of the Magistrate Judge’s determinations and analysis.” Id. at 9. Finally, parties must identify and properly apply the proper standard of review. Id. at 10. “As the District Judge is essentially undertaking appellate review of the work of a Magistrate Judge, it is imperative that the parties accurately articulate and apply the correct standard of review.” Id.
Turning to the parties’ objections, the Court first reviewed Magistrate Judge Thynge’s findings on summary judgment for invalidity and non-infringement de novo, and sustained a number of the parties’ objections. See id. at 10-29. The Court did not adopt the following findings of the Report, concluding that genuine issues of material fact existed: (1) the Report’s grant of Philips’ motion for summary judgment of invalidity of Masimo’s ‘222 patent due to lack of written description, id. at 10-16; (2) the Report’s grant of Philips’ motion for summary judgment of non-infringement of Masimo’s ‘984 patent (because Philips did not oppose Masimo’s objection), id. at 16-17; (3) the grant of Philips’ motion for summary judgment on no literal infringement of Masimo’s ‘535 patent , id. at 22-23. Finally, the Court sustained Philip’s objection to the Report and granted its motion for summary judgment of no infringement of Masimo’s ‘272 patent. Masimo’s arguments for the denial of summary judgment here were based on its expert’s “conclusory opinion and do not provide sufficient bases for a finding of infringement.” Id. at 28-29. As to Magistrate Judge Thynge’s later Report that decided motions for summary judgment on damages issues (willfulness and lost profits) , the Court adopted that Report in full. Id. at 37-39.
The Court also reviewed non-dispositive pre-trial matters, including Daubert motions (previously discussed here), for clear error or abuse of discretion. The Court sustained Masimo’s objection that it could not challenge the status of a certain reference as prior art. Id. at 17-19. It also sustained Masimo’s objection to the finding that its damages expert was “unfamiliar with the supporting documents and other details for his assumptions.” Id. at 33. The Court concluded that the expert, “far from relying on a third party [as had been done in a case cited in the Report] . . . legitimately relied on his staff and dictated the parameters of the analysis.” Id. 33-34.
While the Court overruled Masimo’s objection to the recommendation that its expert could only testify as to the “lack of peer reviewed studies on Nonin PureSat showing that it is an acceptable alternative, but cannot opine or testify that Nonin PureSat is an unacceptable alternative due to the lack of such studies,” id. at 32 (emphasis in original), it did note a concern about whether “it can effectively walk the fine line draw by today’s ruling.” Id. at 33. “It may be appropriate to reevaluate these issues in the context of a motion in limine, if either side chooses to file on in connection with preparation of the final pretrial order.” Id.
In a subsequent Order, Judge Stark supplemented His Honor’s review and overruled an additional objection of Phillips to the denial of its motion for summary judgment of invalidity of Masimo’s ‘984 patent, an objection that had not been covered in the March 31 opinion. Order(D. Del. Apr. 14, 2014). In addition to the fact that Magistrate Judge Thynge had idenfied issues of material fact, Judge Stark had also sustained Masimo’s objection to the finding that it could not challenge a certain reference’s status as prior art to the ‘984 patent. This also created a material issue as to whether the reference was prior art. Id. at 3.