A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware

Entries for date: June 2022

Forgive the Puppy
Forgive the Puppy Taylor Kopel, Unsplash

Judge Burke had an interesting opinion on Tuesday striking final contentions served after the deadline in the scheduling order.

It's become increasingly common in the district for late-served final contentions to be analyzed under the less forgiving good cause standard of Rule 16 without reference to the Pennypack Factors. Even so, it was a bit surprising to see the Court strike contentions which were filed just a month after the deadline, which the Court addressed directly in the Order:

This result might seem harsh in light of the facts here, since Plaintiff submitted the belated contentions at issue only about a month after the filing deadline called for by the Scheduling Order. …

Dollar Bills
Sharon McCutcheon, Unsplash

Judge Bryson resolved a large pile of motions in limine this month in IOEngine, LLC v. Paypal Holdings, Inc., C.A. No. 18-452-WCB (D. Del. June 15, 2022). What's a large pile, you say? About nineteen motions in limine total if I'm counting correctly.

The opinion hits a number of the old stand-by MILs, including that the accused infringer cannot call the patentee names like "patent troll" (we've discussed that before), that PTAB and IPR proceedings do not come in and the parties cannot talk about inequitable conduct (common results), and that general evidence about the parties' size/net worth is precluded (also not uncommon).

There were a number of interesting motions, though, …

Is there corporate culture in there? Let's hear from our expert...
Slejven Djurakovic, Unsplash

When expert reports go back and forth in a patent case, it's not uncommon to see complaints from the patentee's expert along the lines of "I understand that the opposing party did not produce information regarding x, so I will instead base my opinions y."

In other words, the expert wants to keep the door open to explain to the jury that he or she would have done a particular analysis if only the other side had given them the information they needed. But, obviously, the other side may object to that testimony.

Judge Connolly addressed a situation like yesterday, and held that the expert cannot just testify to the jury about the other sides alleged …

An embodiment of the claimed
An embodiment of the claimed "weight-shift controlled personal hydrofoil watercraft" U.S. Patent No. 9,359,044

We don't usually write about claim construction opinions, because they tend to be fact-specific and tough to generalize to other cases.

But there were a few interesting points in a claim construction opinion issued by Judge Andrews on Friday, and I thought it was worth outlining them here:

  • While the judges are typically somewhat adverse to extrinsic evidence, Judge Andrews asked the parties to submit letters outlining "textbook[]" style definitions of the a term, "stability," and said that he found the letters helpful. He adopted the construction that "capture[d] the concept of static stability" as set forth in the textbook definitions.
  • The Court relied on plaintiff's …

Mario La Pergola, Unsplash

It's easy to fall into the trap of separating rules into "technical" and "substantive" and on that basis to choose which must be followed and which can be safely ignored. Judge Noreika neatly illustrated how foolhardy this practice can be last week, when she issued a brief, two-sentence order denying a summary judgment motion:

WHEREAS, pursuant to the 47 Scheduling Order, a separate concise statement of facts shall be filed with any summary judgment motion; and WHEREAS, Plaintiff did not file such statement with its 194 Motion for Summary Judgment. THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the motion is DENIED for failure to comply with this Court's procedures set forth in the Scheduling Order

Board …

RIP, dear stipulated extension
Mr Xerty, Unsplash

Just a heads up, since this has to be one of the more common things that counsel do in cases—this week, Judge Connolly denied a stipulation extending the answer deadline as untimely and lacking a reason:

ORAL ORDER: The parties' stipulation (D.I. 16) being untimely and offering no justification for an extension, it is HEREBY DENIED. Defendant has until June 23, 2022 to answer, move, or otherwise respond to the complaint. ORDERED by Judge Colm F. Connolly on 6/21/22. (ntl) (Entered: 06/21/2022)

Wikeshire IP LLC v. TransCore, LP, C.A. No. 22-445-VAC (D. Del.).

It's not clear from the docket why it was untimely. It looks like the answer deadline was originally 4/28/2022, then it was extended by stip to 5/28, then 6/14. Then, on 6/14 (the due date), the parties filed another stipulation extending the answer deadline to 6/28.

So it looks like the Court rejected a stipulation filed on 6/14 to extend a 6/14 due date. It may be that the parties filed after the 6pm filing deadline. Or, it may be that the Court is taking the view that the stipulation must be filed early enough for the Court to "so order" it prior to the deadline—but I haven't seen that in other cases.

Either way, it's probably safest to list a justification for your stip extending the answer deadline, and to file early going forward! Of course, this can be tricky in high-volume NPE cases, where plaintiff's counsel may be unresponsive until the parties are right up against a deadline.

This is definitely not a District of Delaware courtroom. But you get the idea...
This is definitely not a District of Delaware courtroom. But you get the idea... David Veksler, Unsplash

Under the D. Del. local rule 7.1.4, a written request for oral argument is due seven days after the reply brief on a motion.

According to the rule, the Court may or may not schedule oral argument on receiving a request—and may schedule argument even if it is not requested:

Oral argument on any motion may be scheduled upon the application of a party, or sua sponte by Court order.

That leads to a common question, "Should we request oral argument on our motion?"

The short answer is: yes, if you want oral argument. The Court is going to schedule …

Silly dog with googly eyes
Jane Almon, Unsplash

Kind of a funny order from Judge Noreika last week:

ORAL ORDER Setting Telephonic Scheduling Conference - The Court has reviewed the parties' proposed scheduling order and is disappointed that the parties have not been able to come to agreement on some of the disputes, which at first blush seem silly . . .

Eos Positioning Systems, Inc. v. ProStar Geocorp, Inc., C.A. No. 22-201-MN, D.I. 27 (D. Del.).

What were the silly disputes, you ask? Here they are, according to the letter filed with the draft scheduling order (D.I. 26-1):

  • Whether to include "to the extent any exist" after "[defendant] shall produce sales figures for the accused product(s).”
  • Whether the case is …

Candice Seplow, Unsplash

Since the Court suspended its mediation program, parties have noticed that the District of Delaware lacks an established pool of local mediators who are available to mediate patent cases.

As I mentioned a while back, I wanted to put together a list to help match attorneys and clients with mediators who have District of Delaware patent-case experience. I've now heard from multiple D. Del. mediators and attorneys about who people are using, and I put together this list.

Spoiler alert: It's a short list. My primary criteria were: local or nearby, active, and experienced in patent cases or patent case mediations. Even so, there are just not a ton of names, and people largely …

Jeff Castellano

It's no secret that the Court has been cracking down on redactions over the past several years [pause for polite laughter]. Nowhere is this more evident than in Judge Andrews' practice of automatically rejecting filings that redact exhibits in their entirety with a brief form order like the following:

The redacted filings (D.I. 453 , 454 , and 458 ) are REJECTED because parts of them are redacted in their entirety. Absent a compelling reason, supported by a statement under oath by a party, redactions in their entirety are impermissible; redactions must be done so as to redact the least possible amount of the materials submitted. Failure to make a good faith attempt at such redactions may result in sanctions, the most common of which would be simply unsealing the entire filing. Redacting in its entirety a document that contains publicly available materials is prima facie evidence of bad faith. Revised redacted filings are DUE within five business days.

Sysmex Corp. v. Beckman Coulter, Inc., C.A. No. 19-1642-RGA, D.I. ...