December 2016 Archives

Personal Web v. IBM: IBM's Motion to Compel Documents from Privilege Log Denied Where Motion Was Filed After Discovery Cut-Off

December 29, 2016

In this patent infringement action, IBM filed a motion to compel production of certain documents that were withheld as privileged. IBM contend that time was of the essence when it filed its motion.

The district court was not persuaded by the urgency of the request or that time "was of the essence" because the motion was filed late. As explained by the district court, "IBM's urgency is belied by the fact that its request is late. Fact discovery closed November 18. Under Civil Local Rule 37-3, IBM's motion to compel discovery was due within 7 days after the fact discovery deadline. Yet IBM filed its discovery motion on December 13, more than two weeks late."

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Plaintiff Cannot Take Back Venue Admission in Patent Infringement Action

December 27, 2016

Plaintiff Ecojet, Inc. ("Ecojet") brought a patent infringement action against Defendant Luraco, Inc. ("Luraco") for infringement of U.S. Patent No. RE45,844 ("the '844 Patent"). After the litigation was pending for several months, Luraco filed a Motion for Leave to File a First Amended Answer regarding venue.

In its motion, Luraco asserted that even though it "originally admitted that venue is proper in this district, it has since determined that venue is improper." The district court explained that "Luraco's argument seems to be tied to its request for re-examination of the '844 Patent, but the actual basis for venue being improper is unclear from its Motion."

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District Court Rules That Claim Construction Requested For First Time During Trial Is Waived

December 22, 2016

During the trial, the plaintiff, Arthrex, requested that the district court construe the term "proximal end" in certain of the patent-in-suit, U.S. Patent No. 8,821,541 ("the '541 patent"). The district court determined that the request for a claim construction was way too late.

The district court began by noting that "Arthrex did not request construction of this term during claim construction, which occurred more than six months ago. Rather, Arthrex requested that the Court construe the term during the Jury Charge Conference-- the night before the last day of a five-day trial. " As explained by the district court, Arthrex based its request on trial testimony from Dr. Alexander Slocum, Defendants' infringement expert, concerning the plain and ordinary meaning of what he understood "proximal end" to mean. Arthrex then insisted that the district court was required to construe the term because Dr. Slocum's testimony raised a dispute regarding its meaning. See O2 Micro Int'l Ltd. v. Beyond Innovation Tech. Co., 521 F.3d 1351, 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2008) ("When the parties raise an actual dispute regarding the proper scope of these claims, the court, not the jury, must resolve that dispute.").

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Court Grants Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Case or Controversy Even Though Patent Holder Did Not Provide Covenant Not to Sue

December 20, 2016

Tech Pharmacy filed a patent infringement action against Defendant Alixa Rx LLC and Defendant Golden Gate National Senior Care LLC d/b/a Golden LivingCenters (collectively, "Defendants"). Tech Pharmacy subsequently filed its Second Amended Complaint to add the Fillmore Defendants as named defendants with respect to the misappropriation of trade secret, breach of contract, and related state tort claims.

In response, the Fillmore Defendants asserted counterclaims for declaratory judgment of invalidity, non-infringement, and inequitable conduct directed at Tech Pharmacy's patents. Tech Pharmacy then filed a motion to dismiss the declaratory judgment claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because Tech Pharmacy had not asserted the patent claims against the Fillmore Defendants.

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District Court Strikes Infringement Contentions Pursuant to Doctrine of Equivalents Because They Contained Blanket Assertions That Did Not Comply with the Local Patent Rules

December 15, 2016

The Defendants filed a motion to strike the Plaintiff's infringement contentions, including their contentions under the doctrine of equivalents ("DOE"), for failing to comply with the Local Patent Rules ("P.R."). The Defendants argued that the Plaintiff's contentions did not comply with P.R. 3-1(d) because the Plaintiff made "impermissible blanket assertions regarding infringement under the doctrine of equivalents."

P.R. 3-1(d) states that the infringement contentions must disclose"[w]hether each element of each asserted claim is claimed to be literally present or present under the doctrine of equivalents in the Accused Instrumentality."

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District Court Orders Plaintiff to Supplement Damage Information Provided in Federal Rule 26 Initial Disclosures Where Plaintiff Failed to Compute an Actual Damage Number

December 13, 2016

In this discovery dispute in a patent infringement action, Frontgate contended that Balsam Brands, Inc. ("Balsam") failed to adequately respond to an interrogatory seeking information about Balsam's damages. As explained by the district court, Balsam's response stated that it: (1) "intends to seek lost profits on the 1,662 Flip Trees that it did not sell during the 2015 Christmas season"; and (2) "intends to seek a reasonable royalty on all Inversion Trees sold by Defendants for which lost profits are not available." Balsam further responded that "historical data on Balsam's cost, sales, inventory, and pricing" was included in materials produced.

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District Court Denies Motion for Preliminary Injunction Where the Plaintiff Did Not Show Specific Facts of Lost Sales or Injury to Goodwill

December 8, 2016

Plaintiff, D Now, Inc. (D-Now), obtained an exclusive license to U.S. Patent No. 8,795,020, which claims a bubble blowing tube. D Now filed a patent infringement action against defendants TPF Toys Limited and TPF Toys LLC (collectively "TPF"). As explained by the district court, "[b]oth parties sell the bubble blowing tube in bouncing bubble kits, wherein the consumer can blow a bubble with the tube then use either gloves (in D Now's product) or paddles (TPF's product) to bounce the bubble."

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District Court Orders Modification of Protective Order to Allow Plaintiff to Use Defendant's Confidential Information in Opposing Inter Partes Review ("IPR")

December 6, 2016

Defendant Baker Hughes Incorporated ("Baker Hughes") filed five inter partes review ("IPR") proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board ("PTAB") asserting that the plaintiff Lubrizol's patents were invalid because of obviousness. Baker Hughes and a third-party, Flowchem LLC ("Flowchem") had previously produced documents in the underlying case that they designated "Confidential" or "Highly Confidential" under the district court's Protective Order.

Lubrizol asserted that the confidential documents would refute Baker Hughes's obviousness argument in the IPR proceedings and sought a modification of the district court's Protective Order to allow Lubrizol to use the confidential documents in the IPR proceedings. In particular, Lubrizol asserted that the Baker Hughes documents would reveal evidence of copying, which would refute any contention that the patents were obvious.

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District Court Orders Production of Past Testing from Prior Litigations Despite Confidentiality of Third Parties

December 1, 2016

Dexcel filed a motion to compel contending that Takeda has refused to provide any fact discovery concerning Takeda's methods for particle size analysis used in prior litigations or underlying the data in the patents-in-suit. Dexcel asserted "that this information was relevant because it targets whether Takeda's position as to test methods to assess the literal infringement of Takeda's particle size limitations by Dexcel's product is consistent with positions Takeda has taken in the past."

Takeda objected arguing that any discovery into test methods for particle size that were employed in prior litigations "implicates the confidential and highly confidential information" of the defendants in those suits. Takeda also contended that the Discovery Confidentiality Orders entered in those matters prohibit it from disclosing information designated confidential by those defendants.

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