Articles Posted in C.D. California

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In this patent infringement action between MAG Aerospace Industries, Inc. (“MAG”) and B/E Aerospace, Inc. (“B/E”), MAG filed an ex parte motion as a result of conduct during a deposition. The court began its analysis of the motion by reminding the parties that “[a] deposition is a judicial proceeding that should be conducted with the solemnity and decorum befitting its importance. Lawyers participating in depositions should comport themselves in a professional and dignified manner.”

The court went on to state that “[w]hen lawyers behave otherwise, it reflects poorly on the entire judicial process. The purpose of a deposition is for a witness to provide testimony under oath. The testimony may or may not be admissible at trial; nonetheless, the opposing party is entitled to ascertain the witness’s knowledge, as imperfect and imprecise as that knowledge may be.”
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Plaintiff Deckers Outdoor Corporation (“Plaintiff”) alleged that Defendants Superstar International, Inc. and Sai Liu (“Defendants”) produce, advertise, and sell products that infringe Plaintiff’s design patents for UGG boots. The district court previously ruled that default judgment was appropriate, considering both the procedural requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b) and the factors laid out in Eitel v. McCool, 782 F.2d 1470, 1471-72 (9th Cir. 1986). In the previous order, the district court left open what relief Plaintiff could recover.

The district court then addressed whether the Plaintiff should be entitled to treble damages. As explained by the district court, “[u]nder 35 U.S.C. § 284 (“Section 284”), when a Court finds that a patent has been infringed, ‘the court shall award the claimant damages adequate to compensate for the infringement, but in no event less than a reasonable royalty for the use made of the invention by the infringer, together with interest and costs as fixed by the court.’ One way damages may be measured under Section 284 is by the patentee’s lost profits. Lucent Technologies, Inc. v. Gateway, Inc., 580 F.3d 1301, 1324 (Fed. Cir. 2009). The burden of proving damages is on the patentee. Id.”
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In this patent infringement action, FedEx moved for reconsideration after the district court had denied its motion for summary judgment regarding the plaintiff’s claim for inducing patent infringement. FedEx moved for reconsideration based on the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Limelight Networks, Inc. v. Akamai Technologies, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 2111 (2014).

The district court first analyzed whether the motion to reconsider was procedurally proper. “Under Local Rule 7-18, a motion for reconsideration may be made on the following grounds only:

(a) a material difference in fact or law from that presented to the Court before such decision that in the exercise of reasonable diligence could not have been known to the party moving for reconsideration at the time of such decision, or (b) the emergence of new material facts or a change of law occurring after the time of such decision, or (c) a manifest showing of a failure to consider material facts presented to the Court before such decision. No motion for reconsideration shall in any manner repeat any oral or written argument made in support of or in opposition to the original motion.”
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In this patent infringement action, Defendant Lighthouse Photonics Corporation’s (“Lighthouse”) moved to reconsider the Court’s Claim Construction Order. Lighthouse argued three reasons for reconsideration: “first, Newport withheld discovery regarding its relevant prior art patents; second, a recent Supreme Court decision constitutes an intervening change in the law; and third, the Court adopted a construction that had not been advanced by either party until the reply briefing.”

The district court, turning to the first basis for the motion to reconsider, stated: “There has been no shortage of sniping and finger-pointing in this case, and the briefing on this Motion is no exception. The parties vigorously dispute whether Newport withheld discovery regarding its prior art patents: No. 4,756,003 (“‘003 Patent”) and No. 5,410,559 (“‘559 Patent”). The Court finds no need to wade into the quagmire over who withheld what, because it exercises its “inherent jurisdiction to modify, alter, or revoke” interlocutory decisions. See Martin, 226 F.3d at 1048-49. Specifically, the Court finds that the presentation of two related patents, which were allegedly withheld by Newport, constitutes good cause to reconsider the May 7, 2014 claim construction order.”
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Echostar Satellite L.L.C. (“Echostar”) moved to compel the production of settlement agreements from the plaintiff. Several issues arose on the motion, including whether the Magistrate Judge had jurisdiction to grant the motion even though the discovery cutoff date had passed, whether a party has an obligation to supplement its prior production with documents that were not created until after the discovery cutoff, and whether the settlement agreements were responsive to the prior document requests.

Turning to the first issue, the court found that it had jurisdiction because of an extension due to a mediation date. “Ordinarily, any motion concerning discovery must be filed sufficiently in advances of the discovery cutoff to allow any production to be completed prior to the cutoff date. Here, however, the parties had obtained an extension of the mediation date from the District Judge in order to allow the instant motion to be decided before the mediation. The Court concludes that, given the foregoing, it has jurisdiction to entertain the instant motion.”
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In this patent infringement action, the district court concluded that the parties were over-litigating the case and matters were only getting worse as trial got closer. “The Court’s previously stated concern that the parties are over-litigating this case is growing. 18 motions in limine were filed, and 15 were denied. A few days before trial, an ex parte motion was filed concerning discovery. After agreeing long ago at the Scheduling Conference that the trial should last 8 days, the parties recently asked for a much longer trial or trials, even though the case has been greatly simplified through motion practice. The number of documents on the docket in this case is approaching 350. The parties’ continual expansion of the remaining issues in dispute retroactively waste the substantial resources the Court has committed to resolving the multitude of disputes the parties have presented.”

The district court also expressed concern that the parties were not simplifying the issues for the jury. “Rather than viewing billions and billions of stars, they need to be told about the constellations that unify and simplify. This is not happening in this case, and the Court believes effectiveness in front of the jury will thus be diminished. This case is being over-litigated, particularly considering the amount involved.”
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In this patent infringement action, Plaintiff NetAirus Technologies, LLC (“NetAirus”) asserted that Apple infringes U.S. Patent No. 7,103,380 (the “‘380 Patent”). The ‘380 Patent claims methods in which a “handset unit [ ] configured to a personal digital assistant (PDA)” wirelessly communicates over both a local area network (“LAN”) and a wide area network (“WAN”). Apple filed a Daubert Motion to exclude the expert reports and opinions of NetAirus’ survey experts and any references to those opinions in the opinion of NetAirus’ damage expert.

After reciting the standards for a Daubert challenge, the district court addressed the specific survey opinions at issue. “No portion of the Marylander and Berger surveys directly accounted for all of limitations of the asserted claims; specifically, the surveys did not ask consumers about the limitations concerning transmission power. Mot., Dkt. 424 at 3-4, 9-12. Apple argues that the failure to align the scope of the claimed invention with the scope of the features explored in the survey means that this case is on all fours with Fractus, S.A. v. Samsung, No. 6:09-cv-203-LED-JDL, 2011 WL 7563820 (E.D. Tex. Apr. 29, 2011). In Fractus, the plaintiff commissioned two surveys to value “incorporating internal antennas in cell phones in place of external antennas” and “the relative importance of internal antennas in cell phones to consumers.” 2011 WL 7563820 at *1. The court excluded the surveys because they measured the value of something -¬internal vs. external antennas – that was more broad than what was covered by the patents — specific improvements to internal antennas. Id.”
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Plaintiffs Kim Laube & Co. (“Laube”) brought this patent infringement action against Defendant Wahl Clipper Corp. (“Wahl”) for infringement of U.S. Patent No. 6,473,973 (“the ‘973 Patent”), which is titled “Disposable Cutting Head for Clippers.” After jury and bench trials, Laube filed a motion dismiss all patent related claims and counterclaims because the Federal Circuit rejected Laube’s challenge to the reexamination’s invalidation of claims 1-5 of the ‘973 Patent; and (ii) Laube granted Wahl a covenant not to sue. Wahl opposed the Motion.
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Eclipse IP LLC (“Eclipse”) filed several patent infringement actions against a number of defendants, in which it alleged indirect infringement (both inducing and contributory) as well as willfulness. The district court sua sponte issued an order regarding the indirect infringement claims as well as the willfulness allegations.

The district court analyzed the recent Federal Circuit decision that addressed the knowledge requirements for indirect infringement claims. “As discussed in length in the recent decision in Labyrinth Optical Technologies, LLC v. Fujitsu America, Inc., the Federal Circuit has recently resolved whether a defendant must have this knowledge before litigation begins. 8:13-cv-00030-AG-MLG (C.D. Cal. Aug. 21, 2013), ECF No. 33. In In re Bill of Lading Transmission & Processing System Patent Litigation, the Federal Circuit held that the plaintiff had met the knowledge requirement to bring an indirect infringement claim when it provided notice of the patent via service of the original complaint. 681 F.3d 1323, 1345 (Fed. Cir. 2012); accord Labyrinth, 8:13-cv-00030-AG-MLG, slip op. at 8-9 (analyzing Bill of Lading’s treatment of this issue in detail and holding patent-holder sufficiently alleged defendant’s knowledge in amended complaint based on service of original complaint); Eon Corp. IP Holdings, LLC v. Sensus USA, Inc., No. C-12-1011 EMC, 2012 WL 4514138, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 1, 2012) (holding that in Bill of Lading, post-complaint knowledge is sufficient). Thus, to meet this knowledge requirement in pleading indirect infringement, Plaintiff need not necessarily allege Defendants’ pre-suit knowledge of the patents. However, what knowledge Plaintiff does allege must still be plausible.”
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Defendant Green Max Distributors, Inc. (“Green Max”) filed a motion for leave to amend its invalidity contentions. In the motion, Green Max sought to add photos, publications, and prior-art references to its original invalidity contentions. These additional references included additional photos that “more clearly and from different angles” depicted the prior art, full versions of the publications that depicted the prior-art references, nine newly cited publications, and eleven newly cited prior art references.

Green Max moved to amend its invalidity contentions in August 2013. Nonetheless, Green Max asserted that it was diligent because it provided Hydrodynamic with many of the additional references it sought to include, asserting that it provided Hydrodynamic with updated invalidity contentions containing “most” of the additional references in response to an interrogatory on February 20, 2013, and then disclosed some of the additional references at Green Max’s deposition of Hydrodynamic conducted on July 16, 2013. The district court found that this argument was irrelevant. “But Green Max’s disclosure of the prior art to Hydrodynamic is irrelevant to the diligence inquiry. Green Max must have been diligent in discovering the new prior art and in bringing its motion to amend its invalidity contentions–not in its disclosure to Hydrodynamic.”
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