A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware

Entries for tag: Expert Witness

Today we highlight a decade-old opinion involving an inventor’s death, the reports of which were greatly exaggerated. The moral of the story: trust but verify. Do a Google search, even if you have it on good authority. Question your assumptions.

It's an oddball case that provides the perfect foil for Nate’s article yesterday involving the opposite fact-pattern—a dead expert. Here, an inventor thought expired was “not only alive, but also willing (‘indeed eager’)” to testify in the upcoming trial, scheduled only ten days away.

In an unusual mix-up, plaintiff relied on testimony from the plaintiff’s 30(b)(6) witness, a former high-ranking officer for plaintiff's company, who said that the inventor was deceased. Where'd he get that information? Several of plaintiff’s …

Photograph of a damages expert report involving the Georgia-Pacific factors, the Panduit test, apportionment, convoyed sales, non-infringing alternatives, marking . . .
Photograph of a damages expert report involving the Georgia-Pacific factors, the Panduit test, apportionment, convoyed sales, non-infringing alternatives, marking . . . Luca J, Unsplash

It seems like people are always messing up with patent damages experts. There are just a lot of ways to get tripped up on damages, and—obviously—big incentives to take risks to drive damages numbers up or down.

We had another example of that on Monday, when visiting Judge McCalla granted a Daubert motion and excluded testimony from an expert who applied a later date for the start of infringing sales for the royalty calculation, and an earlier date for the hypothetical negotiation. The expert apparently used a December 2014 date for his royalty calculation:

Wonderland argues that neither Evenflo nor Mr. Peterson presented evidence of any manufacture or testing that occurred at the dates that Mr. Peterson suggested. . . . Wonderland supports its assertion by pointing to sections of Mr. Peterson’s report and deposition in which Mr. Peterson . . . uses December 2014 and not an earlier date as the starting point for calculating royalty damages based on his hypothetical rate. . . .

But the expert used an earlier date for the reasonably royalty calculation, arguing that the earlier date is when the infringement actually began:

When using a hypothetical negotiation to assess damages, “the date of the hypothetical negotiation is the date that the infringement began.” . . . Mr. Peterson asserts that a date falling between December 2013 and April 2, 2014 “more naturally aligns with the actual date of first infringement.” . . .

But the Court found that the party had failed to put forth evidence of the earlier date, and ...

Be Careful
Josh Frenette, Unsplash

In a pair of orders last week in Shopify Inc. v. Express Mobile, Inc., C.A. No. 19-439-RGA (D. Del.), Judge Andrews set out guidelines for the trial testimony of two fact witnesses, who will offer testimony at trial regarding some prior art references (among other things).

The procedural background here is surprising. The patentee moved in limine to exclude the testimony of these witnesses, and the Court addressed the motion at a pre-trial status conference. There, the Court directed that the parties depose the witnesses and that the accused infringer submit proffers of the testimony that will be offered at trial.

That a Lot of Briefing

The parties then filed a stipulation setting …

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 …

The Federal Judicial Center patent video. I find it exciting to watch, for a moment, because it reminds me the start of a jury trial...
The Federal Judicial Center patent video. I find it exciting to watch, for a moment, because it reminds me the start of a jury trial... Federal Judicial Center

Every once in a while, parties will offer a "patent law expert" with opinions about patent office proceedings, such as patent prosecution. Often, smart opposing counsel will move to exclude that testimony, and it's not unusual for the Court to grant those motions.

A decision last week reminded of this issue. Late last week, Judge Burke granted a motion to preclude some expert testimony about patent prosecution, and excluded expert testimony regarding the patent examiner and plaintiffs' state of mind:

ORAL ORDER: The Court, having reviewed the portion of Plaintiffs' Daubert motion …

"Pick a card, any card . . . that's our secondary obviousness reference." Aditya Chinchure, Unsplash

Judge Andrews issued a short memorandum order today denying two Daubert motions based on an obviousness analysis where an expert identified a main reference and 24 additional references, without listing specific combinations.

The analysis apparently sorted the prior art into categories:

The main point of both motions is the assertion that Dr. Lepore has not identified specific combinations of prior art for his obviousness analysis. Defendants have referred to a portion of Dr. Lepore’s report where he lists categories of references. . . . [T]he expert has one reference as the “lead compound.” The expert has three additional categories of references: (1) four that show “c-Met’s role in various Cancers,” (2) six references “related to selecting a lead compound,” and (3) fourteen references “related to modifying the lead compound.”

As the Court explained, a usual case may involve a multiple-reference "state of the art" or motivation to combine analysis, so this is not a Daubert issue:

My view is that, in the usual case, an obviousness combination requires the identification of two or sometimes three references that disclose the requisite claim elements, and (usually) additional references, which can be ...

What's the worst they could say?
What's the worst they could say? Andrew E. Russell

It's easy to forget that, before the 2010 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, attorney communications with testifying experts and drafts of expert reports were often discoverable by the other side.

The amended Federal Rules offer more protection to those kinds of materials. But since the change, some attorneys have become much more open in their communication with testifying experts, and some experts have become much less sensitive to avoiding written records.

But post-2010 Rule 26 does not protect everything relating to a testifying expert's work. In fact, it has gaping holes, and protects only two things: "drafts of any report or disclosure" and "communications between the party's attorney …

Judge Burke last month addressed a motion to strike portions of an expert report regarding commercial acceptability of a non-infringing alternative.

As set forth in the report, an expert may rely on experience in the industry, but must explain "how that experience leads to the conclusions reached." Here, the expert opined that an alternative was commercially acceptable, but did not set forth why.

Then, when asked for more detail at his deposition, he responded with a snide comment:

[D]uring his deposition, [the expert] very ill−advisedly made things worse when he responded to a question on this subject by flippantly suggesting that he had "no backing" for the conclusion, and had simply "put [it] in on purpose" because Plaintiffs' expert similarly …

"Oh god. What did our expert just say?" Jamie Haughton, Unsplash

More and more NPE cases have moved to Delaware over the last few years, following TC Heartland. Defendants often try to deal with NPE cases by threatening fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285, with varying degrees of success.

A § 285 fees opinion today by Judge Stark offers an interesting data point as to what kind of conduct is not sufficient to render a case as a whole exceptional under § 285, as well as a lesson on how to best to pursue a fees motion.

In Intellectual Ventures I LLC v. Trend Micro Inc., C.A. No. 12-1581-LPS (D. Del.), the patentee's …