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Sue L. Robinson: No Exception to Policy that Prohibits Testifying Patent-Law Experts


A recent decision by district judge Sue L. Robinson further develops her policy of prohibiting patent-law experts from testifying. As part of a wide-ranging summary judgment opinion – which covers infringement, validity, and enforceability on a number of patents – the Court emphasized that the case presented “no grounds for exception” to this practice:

“The court denies MEMC’s motion to admit the expert testimony of [Gooklasian] regarding: (1) ‘the context of when and under what circumstances an applicant may make amendments after receiving an [sic] notice of allowance;’ (2) ‘procedurally how these amendments are evaluated by the [PTO];’ and (3) ‘how the applicants here avoided substantive examination of the broad claim scope covering all ‘ions’ by misuing these two types of post-allowance/post-issuance amendment procedures.’ ”
The Court continued that it “does not allow patent law experts to testify; this case presents no grounds for exception to the court’s practice in this regard. As described by MEMC, Gooklasian offers only general guidance about PTO practice. He has no specific knowledge regarding the ‘516 or ‘601 applications or either the PTO’s or [examiner’s] treatment of the same.” (See op. at 26-27 n.16.)

S.O.I.TEC Techs., S.A. v. MEMC Elec. Mat. Inc., C.A. No. 08-292-SLR (D. Del. Oct. 13, 2010) (Robinson, J.).

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