After Halo, District Court Concludes that Jury's Finding of Willfulness Is Still Appropriate

June 29, 2016

After a jury trial finding American Technical Ceramics Corp. ("ATC) willfully infringed Presidio Component's ("Presidio") patent, ATC filed a motion for a finding of no willful infringement based on the Supreme Court's decision in Halo. At the time the jury reached its verdict, the Federal Circuit's decision in In re Seagate Tech required that "an award of enhanced damages [under section 284] requires a showing of willful infringement." In re Seagate Tech., LLC, 497 F.3d 1360, 1368 (Fed. Cir. 2007) (en banc).

ATC argued that in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Halo, the jury's verdict as to willfulness is void and should be disregard. The district court explained that on June 13, 2016, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Halo Elecs., Inc. v. Pulse Elecs., Inc., No. 14-1513, 579 U.S. __ (June 13, 2016). In Halo, the Supreme Court rejected the Federal Circuit's two-part test from Seagate for determining when a district court may award enhanced damages as inconsistent with § 284. Id., slip op. at 1-2. The Supreme Court explained that § 284 commits the award of enhanced damages to the discretion of the district court. See id. at 8, 12-13, 15. The Supreme Court further explained that the Seagate test is "'unduly rigid'" and "'impermissibly encumbers'" a district court's discretion, particularly its requirement that there must be a finding of objective recklessness in every case before a district court may award enhanced damages.

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After Inventor Dies, Patent Infringement Lawsuit Is Dismissed for Lack of Standing on Court's Own Motion

June 27, 2016

Chris Tavantzis and ChrisTrikes Custom Motorcycles, Inc. ("ChrisTrikes") filed a complaint against a number of individuals and entities that allegedly infringed on a patent for a wheelchair-accessible motorcycle (the "Wheelchair Motorcycle Patent"). After the complaint was filed, the district court received notice of Mr. Tavantzis' death. When no party moved to substitute the proper party to continue Mr. Tavantzis' claims within the time required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 25(a), the district court dismissed Mr. Tavantzis from the lawsuit, leaving ChrisTrikes as the only remaining plaintiff.

As a result, the district court examined whether ChrisTrikes' had standing to maintain the patent infringement claims, which included claims based on theories of direct infringement, contributory infringement, and induced infringement. The district court noted that "[b]ecause standing is a fundamental component of a federal court's subject matter jurisdiction, the Court is entitled to examine ChrisTrikes' standing on its own initiative. See Bischoff v. Osceola Cty., 222 F.3d 874, 877-78 (11th Cir. 2000)."

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District Court Denies Agreed Upon Consent Judgment and Permanent Injunction Where Parties Failed to Submit Consent and Injunction within 60 Days after Dismissal

June 22, 2016

After the parties settled the lawsuit, the district court dismissed the case without prejudice, subject to the right of any party to re-open the action within sixty days, upon good cause shown, or to submit a stipulated form of final order or judgment (the "60-Day Order"). Sixty-five days after the district court entered the 60-Day Order, the parties filed a joint motion to extend the 60 day deadline and enter a proposed consent judgment and permanent injunction pursuant the parties' settlement agreement.

In the joint motion, the parties told the district court that a "disagreement arose concerning the terms of the settlement that required the settlement hearing to be transcribed." The district court noted that "whatever disagreement arose between the parties, it arose and was resolved prior to the expiration of the 60-day period. Yet, the parties did not move to extend the deadline within that period."

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District Court Declines Parties Joint Motion to Sever New Defendant from Pending Action

June 20, 2016

In this patent infringement action, the parties filed a joint motion to request that the district court sever Defendant Contour, LLC ("Contour") from the case. VStream, the plaintiff, had not effected service on Contour until after the scheduling conference, so Contour had no ability to participate in the dates selected by the court.

The court explained that "[t]ypically, cases of this nature are consolidated after being filed and then set for a scheduling conference, at which time the parties receive Markman hearing and trial dates. Because those dates are set at the time of the scheduling conference and commemorated in the Docket Control Order issued by the Court, the Court is not inclined to revise them other than in exceptional circumstances."

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After a Jury Trial Determining that the Defendant Infringed Several Valid Patents, the District Court Certified the Partial Judgment for Appeal Prior to a Trial on Damages Because the PTAB Had Found One of the Patents Invalid

June 15, 2016

Plaintiffs asserted that defendants infringed several patents. The district court bifurcated liability and damages for all four patent infringement claims. After a jury trial, the jury concluded that the patents were valid and infringed. Subsequently, after an inter partes review proceeding, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board ("PTAB") issued a Final Written Decision that found all asserted claims of one of the patents-in-suit unpatentable.

The district court denied the defendants' post-trial motions with respect to most of the patents, but withheld any decision on any issues pertaining to the '244 patent, which was the subject of the PTAB proceeding and a pending appeal from the PTAB decision. The defendants then filed a motion for certification of partial final judgment on the patent infringement claims pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b).

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Defendant's "Piecemeal" Approach to Discovery and Review of Only Select Files of Corporate Employees Results in Sanctions

June 13, 2016

In this patent infringement action, the defendants conducted a "piecemeal approach to discovery, reviewing only the files of select corporate employees." The district court found that this approach was contrary to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and to repeated orders of the court.

In response to plaintiff's motion to compel, the defendant cited Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(b)(2)(C), which allows the court to limit discovery if "the discovery sought is unreasonably cumulative or duplicative..." The district court noted that the rule "allows the court--not a party--to limit discovery where it is unduly burdensome. Absent such an order of the court, a party may not unilaterally refuse to comply with its discovery obligations."

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District Court Denies Request to Stay Discovery Pending Motion to Dismiss Based on Patent-Ineligible Subject Matter

June 8, 2016

J. Crew filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiffs' claims for patent infringement pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), asserting that the patents-in-suit are drawn to patent-ineligible subject matter and therefore invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101. J. Crew also filed a separate motion to stay all disclosures and discovery in the case until the district court ruled on the motion to dismiss.

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District Court Denies Request for Order Compelling Production of Damage Expert Report from a Different Pending Case

June 6, 2016

In this patent infringement action between Chrimar Systems, Inc. ("Chrimar") and Alcatel-Lucent USA, Inc. ("Lucent"). Lucent sought production of the damages expert report of Plaintiffs' damages expert, Robert Mills, that was created for a litigation currently pending in the Northern District of California.

Chrimar opposed the request on the ground that the expert report was covered by a protective order issued by another Federal court. The district court in Texas agreed.

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District Court May Preclude Evidence from Parent Company Where Parent Company Was Dismissed from Case and Then Refused to Provide Discovery

June 2, 2016

When this patent infringement action began, the plaintiff explained that it was concerned that it would not be able to obtain important discovery if Ricoh Company Ltd. ("RCL"), which is the parent company of the defendants, Ricoh Electronics, Inc. ("REI") and Ricoh Americas Corp. ("RAC") were dismissed as a party. When they moved for dismissal, the defendants represented that: "IV identifies no information exclusively within the possession of RCL that is germane to its infringement case. On the other hand, it would be unreasonable and a hardship on RCL to force it to participate in litigation halfway around the world, particularly when RAC and REI are able and willing to contest IV's claims."

As explained by the district court, after the dismissal of RCL, REI and RAC stated that the technical documents sought by IV were not in their possession or control, but might be obtained from RCL. RCL then refused to provide the documents voluntarily. Unable to obtain the discovery from REI and RAC, IV sought discovery from RCL through international Letters Rogatory. That request was denied by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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As Part of Protective Order, District Court Orders Prosecution Bar and Covenant Not to Sue for New Patents Acquired by Patent Holder

May 31, 2016

In this patent infringement action, a dispute arose between Plaintiff Blackbird Tech LLC ("Blackbird") and the defendants over the terms of proposed protective orders to govern the use of confidential information produced. Although the parties agreed that a protective order was appropriate, they disagreed on the level of access by Blackbird's in-house counsel and the scope of a patent prosecution bar.

The district court explained that the protective order presented a unique circumstance given Blackbird's business, which was described as "a new model for individual inventors and small companies to monetize their intellectual property." "Blackbird achieves this goal by acquiring patents and litigating on behalf of itself, using experienced patent litigators that are directly employed by Blackbird instead of outside counsel, at a great cost savings." Blackbird also described the acquisition of patents as being "essential" to its business. An important part of Blackbird's business model is to maintain "a diverse portfolio of patents and not to be concentrated in one technological area."

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District Court Precludes Evidence of Patent Trial and Appeal Board's Denial of Institution of Inter Partes Review at Trial

May 25, 2016


As this patent infringement action proceeded to trial, Google filed a motion in limine to exclude evidence of Google's petitions for Inter Partes Review ("IPR") of claims of the patent-in-suit and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board's ("PTAB") denial of institution of those petitions. Google had previously filed petitions with the PTAB seeking to invalidate the patent-in-suit and the PTAB had declined to institute review of the petitions.

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District Court Strikes Infringement Contentions and Sanctioned Plaintiff for Taking Inconsistent Positions

May 23, 2016

The defendant, Echoworx, brought a motion to strike ZixCorp's infringement contentions. ZixCorp had served its original infringement contentions on Echoworx, contending that the elements of the patent-in-suit are software limitations, and stated that it intended to supplement its infringement contentions after Echoworx produced source code for each of Echoworx's accused instrumentalities.

After Echoworx produced its source code for review, ZixCorp served P.R. 3-1(g) Amendments to Its Infringement Contentions ("amended contentions"). Echoworx then complained to ZixCorp that ZixCorp's amended infringement contentions were deficient under 3-1(c) and ZixCorp had violated the Discovery Order by refusing to provide the identifications of source code for software limitations required by P.R. 3-1(g).

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District Court Strikes Documents That Were Not Produced During Discovery Even Though Documents Were Publically Available

May 18, 2016

In this patent infringement action, Mobile Telecommunications Tech., LLC ("MTel") filed against Blackberry Corp., MTel moved to exclude certain exhibits that were archived press releases published by RCR Wireless and SkyTel webpage screenshots of advertisements. MTel objected that these exhibits are inadmissible because they have not been authenticated by a representative from the Internet Archive service, or "Wayback Machine." MTel also objected that all of the exhibits constitute hearsay and that none of the exhibits were produced during discovery.

BlackBerry conceded that none of the exhibits were previously produced. It contended that the failure to produce the documents was harmless because they were publicly available. The district court disagreed.

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Court Declines to Modify Judgment Based on Collateral Proceedings before the PTAB Finding Claims of Patent-In-Suit Invalid

May 16, 2016

Summary: In the decision referenced below, the court declined to modify a judgment pursuant to Rule 60(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure even though the PTAB had found several claims of the patent-in-suit invalid.

After a trial and an appeal to the Federal Circuit, which affirmed the royalty damages verdict in favor of the plaintiff, the defendant moved the district court to grant it relief from the judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6). The defendant argued that it would be unjust for the court to enforce a judgment in which ongoing collateral proceedings before the PTAB may render certain patents invalid and may have impacted the fairness of the trial.

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Failure to Institute Inter Partes Review Is Not Grounds for Common Law Estoppel to Prevent Defendant from Re-Litigating Issues Raised before the Patent Office

May 11, 2016

The defendant filed a petition for Inter Partes Review ("IPR") with the Patent Office. As part of its application, it submitted a 65 page brief along with several hundred page s of accompanying evidence. The plaintiffs submitted a 60 page brief along with its own evidence in response. After the Patent Office declined to institute review of the patent-in-suit, the plaintiffs contended that the denial of the IPR was a final decision by an administrative board and that the defendant was collaterally estopped from bringing those same arguments again before the district court.

After reviewing the law on collateral estoppel, the district court noted that the defendant "did not make it past the preliminary proceedings in their attempted IPR." The district court concluded that this was important for several reasons. "First, it means a 'trial' was never conducted o[n] the merits. Instead, the 'proceedings' were limited to a single petition brief, a response, and any accompanying evidence. Second, there was not a final written decision issued. The Board denied further review, that is, it denied initiating the IPR proceedings. Accordingly, no final written decision was necessary."

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