A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware


Entries for tag: Amended Complaint

FRCP 15 governs amendment to pleadings, so it would stand to reason that it would be the operative rule when seeking to amend a complaint. However, when seeking to amend after the deadline in the scheduling order, the movant must satisfy not only the relatively liberal requirements of Rule 15 but also the more exacting "good cause" standard of Rule 16. Unlike Rule 15, which permits amendment in the absence of undue delay, bad faith, or dilatory motive, Rule 16 requires diligence by the party seeking amendment.

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None, Ocean Ng, Unsplash

A recent ruling by Judge Fallon demonstrates the danger of ignoring Rule 16's requirements when seeking amendment after the deadline. The plaintiff in NRT Tech. Corp. v. Everi Holdings Inc., C.A. No. 19-804-MN-SRF sought to amend its complaint, asserting Walker Process and sham litigation antitrust claims, almost a full year after the expiration of the amendment deadline.

Judge Fallon noted that although plaintiffs "bear the burden of showing that they exercised diligence in seeking the proposed amendment under Rule 16(b)(4)," their motion "does not address the applicable good cause standard for motions to amend filed after the deadline."

Plaintiffs apparently argued that defense counsel should have alerted them of the applicability of Rule 16, but Judge Fallon rejected that ...

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electronic wire lot photo, Massimo Botturi, Unsplash

Given the liberal amendment standard in federal court, it is not surprising that plaintiffs faced with § 101 challenges to their asserted patents may attempt to introduce factual issues through amended pleadings to avoid a dismissal.

Judge Connolly recently permitted the plaintiff in the consolidated Realtime Data litigation to amend its complaints after he had twice found plaintiff's patents (involving data compression) invalid under § 101. RealTime Data LLC v. Array Networks Inc., C.A. No. 17-800-CFC.
But the amendments were not enough to save plaintiff's patents, and Judge Connolly walked through the amendments to explain why.

First, the amended complaints asserted that certain claims were not representative of others, and that different limitations "must be considered separately for for the purposes of § 101." But these statements were deemed "conclusory," and in any event, the plaintiff failed to "explain why these limitations are relevant to subject-matter eligibility."

Second, he found that all but one of the "new" claim construction positions were already before the Court, and the remaining proposal (to construe "data accelerator" as "hardware or software with one or more compression ...

In Delaware, Local Rule 7.1.2(b) sets deadlines for responding to motions, and states that

Except for the citation of subsequent authorities, no additional papers [other than the opening, answering, and reply briefs] shall be filed absent Court approval.

Based on this rule, parties file "notices of subsequent authorities" to present after-arising citations (and sometimes other content) to the Court.

But some attorneys disagree about just how much argument can accompany the "citation[s]" a notice of subsequent authority. The authority is mixed.

In some cases, the Court has declined to consider notices containing argument that are filed without leave. See, e.g., Forest Labs., Inc. v. Amneal Pharm. LLC, C.A. No. 14-508-LPS, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23215, at *51 …