Articles Posted in District Courts

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https://patentlaw.jmbm.com/files/2019/01/freerangestock-download-cc0-01.23.2019-300x288.jpgIn a patent infringement action, Takeda Pharmaceuticals America, Inc., and Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc.’s (collectively, “Takeda”) filed a motion to disqualify Baker Botts, L.L.P. (“Baker Botts”) from representing Defendants Zydus Pharmaceuticals (USA) Inc. and Cadila Healthcare Limited (collectively, “Zydus”). Takeda moved to disqualify Baker Botts from representing Zydus based on Baker Botts’ alleged previous representation of Ethypharm S.A. (“Ethypharm”) in earlier litigation involving Takeda’s Prevacid® SolutabTM product.

Takeda asserted that the law firm should be disqualified from representing Zydus based on a Common Interest & Confidentiality Agreement (the “Agreement”) Ethypharm entered into with Takeda and TAP Pharmaceutical Products Inc. (“TAP”) in the Delaware Action.

In this regard, Takeda claimed that the Agreement created an implied attorney-client relationship between Takeda and Baker Botts. As explained by the district court, Takeda argued that the current litigation was substantially related to the prior litigation involving Ethypharm, arguing that even though the patent infringement claims were dismissed, leaving only Zydus’ antitrust counterclaims, the matters remained substantially related because the critical issue in deciding Zydus’ antitrust counterclaims is whether Takeda’s assertion of the dismissed patent claims was objectively baseless. Takeda also contended that facts and theories from the prior litigation, including arguments concerning commercial success were relevant and long-felt because, in order to succeed on its antitrust counterclaims, Zydus must establish a monopoly, and, consequently, Zydus has sought discovery on Takeda’s sale and marketing of Prevacid® SoluTab.TM

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National Products, Inc. (“NPI”) filed a patent infringement action Akron Resources, Inc. (“Akron”), among others.  The parties filed several cross motions for summary judgment, including a motion for summary judgment based on the failure to mark.

As explained by the district court, the parties did not dispute that:https://patentlaw.jmbm.com/files/2019/01/aerial-business-computer-1011329-Pexels-CC0-01.14.2019-300x170.jpg

“1) NPI sells products that practice the ’212 Patent;

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https://patentlaw.jmbm.com/files/2019/01/background-close-up-court-1415558-pexels-CC0-01.14.2019-1-300x201.jpgIn this patent infringement action, the plaintiff, Whirlpool Properties (“Whirlpool”) noticed several depositions of third-party witnesses near the discovery cut-off.  The defendant, Filters Fast, moved for an order to stop the depositions.

As explained by the district court, “[t]he crux of the pending motion is that the Whirlpool Plaintiffs emailed Defendant on November 28, 2018, the dispositive motions deadline, attaching two third-party deposition subpoenas that noticed depositions for December 6 in Windsor, Va. and December 7 in Simpsonville, S.C.  Defendant contends that Plaintiffs had never identified these potential witnesses, nor even disclosed the possibility of deposing them.  Moreover, Defendant notes that these newly noticed depositions overlapped with already scheduled depositions of Whirlpool witnesses to be held in Chicago, Il. on December 5, 7, and 11. According to Defendant, Whirlpool Plaintiffs then emailed a notice on December 2, regarding a third third-party witness it intended to depose in Texas on December 11 or 12.”

In opposition, Whirlpool asserted that witnesses in question “were disclosed within three days of confirming them for depositions.”  Whirlpool argued that the notice of depositions in dispute here was “reasonable under the circumstances.” ((citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 30(b)(1)).  Whirlpool further argued that the third-party depositions could have been conducted by the parties’ stipulated extension of the discovery deadline – December 12, 2018. Whirlpool also contended that the depositions address non-complicated issues that would require minimal preparation.

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After that analysis, the district court determined that it would join the majority of “district courts in the Ninth Circuit in finding that allegations of knowledge alone are not sufficient to state a claim for willful infringement. See XpertUniverse, Inc. v. Cisco Sys., Inc., No. 17-cv-03848-RS, 2017 WL 4551519, at *6 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 11, 2017) (“Although [plaintiff] has alleged knowledge and continued infringement, it needs to do more to show that [defendant] has engaged in ‘egregious cases of misconduct beyond typical infringement’ that could possibly warrant enhanced damages.” (quoting Halo, 136 S. Ct. at 1935)); Cont’l Circuits, 2017 WL 2651709, at *8 (“The Court continues to conclude that willfulness must be pled, and that allegations of knowledge alone are insufficient.”); Finjan, Inc. v. Cisco Sys. Inc., No. 17-cv-00072-BLF, 2017 WL 2462423, at *5 (N.D. Cal. June 7, 2017) (“[E]ven if [plaintiff] had adequately alleged that [defendant] had pre-suit knowledge of the Asserted Patents, dismissal would also be warranted because the FAC does not contain sufficient factual allegations to make it plausible that [defendant] engaged in ‘egregious’ conduct that would warrant enhanced damages under Halo.”).

Following that reasoning, the district court reviewed DSS’ allegations and found that they were insufficient to state a claim for willful infringement. “The Court finds that DSS’s allegations are not sufficient to state a claim for willful infringement of the patents-in-suit. Although, DSS has alleged knowledge and continued infringement, it has failed to allege facts suggesting that Lite-On’s conduct amounts to an “egregious case[] of misconduct beyond typical infringement.” Halo, 136 S. Ct. at 1935. “Disagreement about the existence of continued infringement does not necessarily indicate willful or deliberate misconduct.” XpertUniverse, 2017 WL 4551519, at *6. Thus, without more, the facts as alleged do not support a plausible inference that Lite-On’s conduct warrants enhanced damages under Halo and § 284.”

As a result, the district court granted Lite-On’s motion to dismiss the claims of willful infringement.

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In this patent infringement action, Plaintiff Wright’s Well Control Services, LLC (WWCS) filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss defendant Christopher Mancini pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(2) with prejudice, but with a “reservation of all rights and actions against co-defendant Oceaneering International, Inc., and any other parties and solidary obligors.”

Defendant Mancini opposed the reservation of rights against unnamed third parties. Mancini also moved for summary judgment on plaintiff’s claims, and WWCS filed a moved for an extension of time to respond to Mancini’s motion for summary judgment.

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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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In this patent infringement action, MMEI, owns U.S. patent 6,234,099 (“the ‘099 patent”). Fineline Industries, Inc. (“Fineline Inc.”) entered into a license agreement with MMEI that permitted Fineline Inc. to use the ‘099 patent for its products for the payment of royalties The agreement also provided that any change of majority control in Fineline Inc. had to be agreed to by MMEI in writing. Fineline Inc. converted into a Florida LLC–Defendant Fineline LLC. Fineline LLC continued to use the 2010 license agreement as a successor to Fineline Inc when . MMEI terminated the 2010 license agreement, arguing that Fineline Inc. had breached the license agreement.

On the same day that MMEI filed the patent infringement action, MMEI filed a lawsuit in state court against Fineline Inc. and Fineline LLC for, among other things, breach of contract and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, including that Fineline LLC was an “unauthorized successor” to the license agreement.
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Huawei and Blackberry filed motions to compel seeking the factual material that the plaintiff, SPH, had relied upon to support its infringement contentions. SPH opposed the motion to compel, arguing that Defendants’ requests seek the universe of documents that SPH’s litigation counsel reviewed and considered to formulate the infringement contentions.

The district court believed that this overstated the Defendants’ requests and this requests were more appropriately directed at the documents upon which SPH relied. The district court stated that “Defendants are entitled to know the facts upon which SPH relies for its claims of infringement so they can respond to SPH’s infringement positions.”
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The defendant filed a motion to strike part of the plaintiff’s initial infringement contentions, focusing on infringement under the doctrine of equivalents and indirect infringement. The defendant asserted that the Local Patent Rules required an explanation of the infringement and plaintiff’s contentions provided none.

The district court noted that Local Patent Rule 2.2(d) requires that for “any claim under the doctrine of equivalents, the Initial Infringement Contentions must include an explanation of each function, way, and result that is equivalent and why any differences are not substantial.”
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In this patent infringement action, the Defendant moved for dismissal based on collateral estoppel and Alice contending that a prior district court had found the patents invalid for lack of patentable subject matter. Before applying the two-step Alice test, the district court took “judicial notice of the fact that Patent ‘046 was found invalid in Joao Control & Monitoring Systems, LLC v. Telular Corp., — F. Supp. 3d –, 2016 WL 1161287 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 23, 2016).

In analyzing the collateral estoppel issue, the district court noted that “the Supreme Court has held that a defense of issue preclusion applies where a party is ‘facing a charge of infringement of a patent that has once been declared invalid,’ even though the party asserting the defense was not a party to the action where the patent was invalidated.” Soverain Software LLC v. Victoria’s Secret Direct Brand Mgmt., LLC, 778 F.3d 1311, 1315 (Fed. Cir. 2015) (quoting Blonder-Tongue Labs., Inc. v. Univ. of Ill. Found., 402 U.S. 313, 349-50 (1971)).
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