District Court Strikes Both Parties' Excessive Exhibit Lists and Deposition Designations Prior to Trial

November 5, 2012

Carnegie Mellon University ("Carnegie Mellon") filed a patent infringement action against Marvell Technology Group, Ltd. ("Marvell"). As the parties proceeded to trial, both parties filed exhibit lists, deposition designations and objections to the exhibits and the deposition designations. In all, the parties submitted 2700 separately listed exhibits, which both parties claimed that they would or might enter at trial. The parties also listed hundreds of deposition designations and counter designations, which the parties also asserted they would or might use at trial.

The parties also submitted objections to the district court in which they objected to almost every exhibit, deposition designation and counter deposition designation. These objections were presented in a series of spreadsheets that summarized the objections. The actual exhibits or depositions were not included with the objections.

The district court found that all of these documents should be stricken as they violated the text and the spirit of the district court's pre-trial order. As explained by the district court, "[t]he Pretrial Order further details the Court's trial procedures for the submission of final exhibit lists and deposition designations, objections thereto, orders the parties to meet and confer to resolve disputes, and expresses the Court's intent to rule on disputed exhibits and other disputed matters at the pretrial conference, which is set to commence on November 14, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. and possibly continue through November 16, 2012."

The district court then found that it would be impossible for the parties to enter these numerous exhibits or use this volume of deposition exhibits at trial given the time limits placed upon the parties by the district court. "The Court initially notes that it is plainly impossible for the parties to enter the hundreds (or thousands) of exhibits and deposition designations into evidence at trial given the restrictions that have been placed on the time for their respective trial presentations. The parties have been on notice for more than a year as to the twenty (20) hour restriction, and this restriction remains without objection or any attempt at modification from the parties. (Docket No. 315 at ΒΆ E.1). As trial is now only a month away, the parties are on notice that the Court will enforce the time limits at trial. As these time limits include opening statements and closing arguments, for which a total of one hour is allotted, the parties have nineteen hours (1,140 minutes) to present actual evidence at trial. However, CMU has submitted 1,900 potential exhibits and, in order to present all of these exhibits would need to have nearly 2 exhibits entered into evidence every minute of the trial. This is not humanly possible. The presentation of Marvell's 800 submissions is no more practical. In this Court's estimation, the parties' submissions of exhibit lists and deposition designations are not the type of trial-ready final lists required by the Court's Pretrial Order, or by Local Rules 16.1.C.1 and 16.1.C.2, which are expressly incorporated into the Pretrial Order."

Finally, the district court was not pleased that it had been inundated with objections. "In addition, the overzealous submission of exhibit lists and deposition designations has caused the Court to be inundated with unnecessary objections. This Court is not in the business of resolving hypothetical disputes as to exhibits and deposition designations that the parties have no real intent to actually offer at trial and in fact could not actually be presented as a practical matter given the time restrictions."

Accordingly, the district court struck the parties' submissions, ordered them to meet and confer over the exhibit, designations and the objections and then required that they resubmit the documents in accordance with the pre-trial order.

Carnegie Mellon University v. Marvell Technology Group, Ltd., Case No. 09-290 (W.D. Penn. Oct. 24, 2012)

The authors of www.PatentLawyerBlog.com are patent trial lawyers at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP. We represent inventors, patent owners and technology companies in patent licensing and litigation. Whether pursuing patent violations or defending infringement claims, we are aggressive and effective advocates for our clients. For more information contact Stan Gibson at 310.201.3548 or SGibson@jmbm.com.