A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware


Entries for tag: 10 Terms

As frequent readers of this blog already know, some judges in Delaware have limited parties to a total of 10 terms for construction across all asserted patents.

We've noted at least one previous instance where Chief Judge Connolly seemed to limit the parties to 10 claim construction disputes. Last week, the Court made an even clearer statement on the issue.

The parties in MG FreeSites Ltd v. ScorpCast, LLC, C.A. No. 20-1012-CFC-JLH (D. Del.) filed their joint claim chart in advance of claim construction, and listed 15 terms in dispute. They also included a footnote smartly noting Chief Judge Connolly's practice not to permit argument on indefiniteness at the claim construction stage.

They then filed a stipulation …

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Road Block, Tim Collins, Unsplash

As chronicled in this very publication, for the last year or so, Judge Noreika has consistently declined to construe more than 10 terms at Markman.

An Unwritten Rule

This practice, however, has not been memorialized in Judge Noreika's form scheduling order, standing orders, or preferences and procedures. This leads to the question of whether the limit still holds when Judge Noreika refers claim construction to a magistrate.

Having just received our first data point, the answer appears to be "yes."

Judge Burke Limits Construction to 10 Terms

In March, Judge Noreika referred "all pretrial matters" in Commvault Sys., Inc. v. Rubrik, Inc., C.A. No. 20-524-MN-CJB, D.I. 55 (D. Del Mar. 5, …

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Construction site birds, 贝莉儿 DANIST, Unsplash

Late last summer, we posted about an interesting order from Judge Noreika rejecting the parties' claim construction chart for including too many terms. As Judge Noreika released a similar order just last week, I though it might be interesting to examine how firm the 10-term limit has been in the months since that first order.

The answer is "very." in the 20-some Markman orders Judge Noreika has issued since that first one, she has never once construed more than 10 terms. 4 times, she has rejected a claim construction chart for including more than 10 (14, 13, 13, and 17 terms were included in those rejected charts). In each case, she has …

In a case that's been pending for years, Judge Connolly just ordered the parties to redo their three-year-old Markman briefs.

Although the parties briefed and argued claim construction at the end of 2017, Judge Sleet granted an IPR stay before a Markman opinion was issued. While the stay was in place, Judge Sleet retired and the case was reassigned to Judge Connolly.

The parties were set to argue claim construction again this week, with 18 disputed terms from the plaintiffs' patents and 26 disputed terms from the defendant's patents. But on Monday, Judge Connolly issued an oral order cancelling the Markman hearing and ordering the parties to substantially narrow their disputes (to 10 limitations for each side's patents).

He also …

Claim Construction Meet and Confer Ends in the Usual Way
Claim Construction Meet and Confer Ends in the Usual Way Ein Gedenkbuch an das glorreiche Jahr 1866 in Wort und Bild, British Library, Unsplash

Last Friday, Judge Noreika ordered the parties in two separate actions to submit revised joint claim charts "identifying no more than a total of ten (10) terms to be argued at the [claim construction] hearing."

The Ongoing Struggle to Limit Terms

This represents a bit of an escalation in the Court's struggle to reduce the number of terms it construes, largely led by our newest Judges, Noreika and Connolly. Last year, Judge Noreika begin issuing her "now-standard post-briefing order directing the parties to meet and confer in an attempt to narrow issues prior to the …

Grapes
Amos Bar-Zeev, Unsplash

If you're not an IP attorney in Delaware, you probably don't remember Grape v. Jingle. It was a 1-page order where Judge Sleet, in four words in a footnote, held that claim construction in all future patent disputes would be limited to 10 terms per patent:

The parties have submitted for construction [19] terms from U.S. Patent No. 7,023,969. Although disinclined to do so in the past, the court - regrettably - will impose a limit of 10 disputed terms per patent for claim construction in this and all future patent actions.

This brief order set Judge Sleet's standard practice for the next nine years until his retirement in 2018.

It quickly circulated around the …