A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware


Entries for tag: contentions

In the vast majority of patent case in Delaware, the parties are required to serve initial patent disclosures in the form of infringement and invalidity contentions (separate from the contentions they might otherwise serve as part of written discovery). These initial contentions set the stage for fact discovery, claim construction, expert reports, and (in some cases) settlement.

Initial patent disclosures were formalized in this District to some degree by the Court's creation of the Default Standard for Discovery nearly a decade ago. The Default Standard established a staged set of initial disclosures that was eventually adopted by most of the Judges here.

Case narrowing is an issue that comes up in most patent cases at some point, whether in the scheduling order, as a discovery dispute, or at the pretrial conference (or, possibly, all three).

Average amount of prior art references each defendant seeks to assert.
Average amount of prior art references each defendant seeks to assert. Cristina Gottardi, Unsplash

When requested, judges in Delaware typically implement an initial two-stage reduction in asserted claims and prior art references, with the first stage occurring before claim construction, and the second afterward.

Of course, sometimes they will implement other schedules depending on the needs of the case and the requests of the parties. And, for cases that reach a pretrial conference, the Court often imposes an additional limit on the number of claims for …

Books
Alfons Morales, Unsplash

In May 2020, West Publishing and Thomson Reuters filed a copyright action against ROSS Intelligence LLC, alleging that ROSS (through a third party) scraped content from WestLaw to start its own Artificial-Intelligence-based legal research platform. (ROSS has since ceased operations but persists solely to litigate this case.)

Down the line, I imagine the case may raise some interesting questions about AI and copyright. For example, what are the copyright implications of ROSS's use of Westlaw's copyrighted compilation of otherwise public domain materials to train an AI? Isn't that fair use (talk about transformative!)? If not, what are the damages? And so on.

For now, ROSS has moved to dismiss on the ground that West failed to …

Even when plaintiffs know of the potential weak spots in their infringement cases, they sometimes fail to address DOE until too late, or they offer a DOE analysis so weak that it gets excluded or wiped out by summary judgment.

That's what happened last week, when Chief Judge Stark struck a DOE opinion after a plaintiff tried to squeak by on the idea that its late DOE argument should be permitted because it never affirmatively declaimed DOE:

Arendi's passing reference to DOE in its complaints followed by its lack of affirmative disclaimer of DOE theories (see, e.g., C.A. No. 12−1595 D.I. 238 at 5) ("Arendi has never asserted that its claims were limited to literal infringement") does …

In the most recent entry in the case narrowing saga in IPA Techs., Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc., 16-1266-RGA (previously covered here and here), Judge Andrews addressed defendant Amazon's objection to the reassertion of previously dropped claims.

Earlier this year, Judge Andrews directed IPA to reduce its asserted claims to 30, and it did. Subsequently, nearly half of its asserted claims were invalidated in an IPR. Plaintiff IPA, no longer asserting the invalidated claims, then added (or "reasserted") seven of the previously dropped claims in place of the invalidated claims.

Amazon opposed the addition of the new claims because fact discovery was nearly complete and because it had crafted its invalidity case with the 30 asserted claims in …

Ok, maybe not all people, and not all of the time. But in ranking the kinds of prior art I'd like to be able to assert against a tech patent, off of the top of my head, I'd rank system references pretty low:

  1. A U.S. Patent: Simple and easy.
  2. A foreign patent: Proving authenticity and publication is usually easy (but sometimes not).
  3. A journal publication: You may have to jump through some hoops, but no big deal.
  4. A Wayback Machine reference: Now one of those hoops is waiting (and waiting...) for a declaration through the Internet Archive's procedures. But it's not hard to get.
  5. A book. Now you may be dealing with librarian declarations.
  6. . . . …

Judge Burke granted a motion to strike yesterday where the plaintiff attempted to add indirect infringement allegations in final infringement contentions, but had not pled them in the complaint.

Per Judge Burke:

It is undisputed that Plaintiffs have never pleaded indirect infringement of these patents, (D.I. 170 at 1), and so any portion of their [final contentions] that relate to that subject matter are simply about infringement claims that are not a part of this case.

He also preemptively denied any future request to amend the complaint as coming too late:

Although they have not filed a formal motion seeking to amend their currently operative complaint to include such [indirect infringement] claims, to the extent Plaintiffs suggest they would …

Although it requires some reading between the redacted lines, Judge Stark's recent ruling in H. Lundbeck A/S v. Apotex, Inc., C.A. No. 18-88-LPS is worth the effort. It shows that while sometimes exclusion orders leave the door open a crack to introduce the excluded evidence in some other fashion, that is not always the case.

Remember these?
Remember these? Tim Gouw, Unsplash

It's often tough to get late-produced theories or evidence excluded in Delaware, because the Court must apply the permissive Pennypack factors that typically favor admission.

The factors include prejudice, ability to cure any prejudice, disruption of trial, and bad faith/willfulness.

But lately, the Court seems to be granting more motions to strike such theories. Today, Judge Andrews granted a motion to strike a late DOE theory offered for the first time in a reply report.

Judge Andrews Isn't Messing Around

He shot down the Pennypack factors in four short and to-the point paragraphs.

As to the first factor, he found prejudice because admission of a late theory requires the …