A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware

Entries for tag: Experts

"What do you mean, attorney argument! This is unbiased expert testimony about how awesome our positions are." Braydon Anderson, Unsplash

Well, this is a new one for me. In Wirtgen America, Inc. v. Caterpillar, Inc., C.A. No. 17-770-JDW-MPT (D. Del. Jan. 16, 2024), the plaintiff had previously brought an action in the ITC against the defendant, and won—achieving an exclusion order that stood up (in part) on appeal.

Now, in a District of Delaware action on the same patents, plaintiff argues willfulness based in part on the previous ITC ruling. Defendant tried to offer an expert who would testify about how great its defenses were at the ITC:

Caterpillar offers Mr. Bartkowski to opine on how …

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 …

I've got a real oddball fact pattern for you today. I'm not sure there's a takeaway for your everyday litigation life, but please remember to hug your experts -- you'll be glad you did.

AI-Generated, displayed with permission

The last time the plaintiff in Personal Audio LLC v. Google LLC, C.A. No. 17-1751-CFC (D. Del. May 22, 2023) spoke to their expert was in August 2021 when he submitted a declaration opposing a Daubert motion.

Sadly, he passed the following January.

Unfortunately, no one told the plaintiff.

Amazingly, two months after that the expert consulting firm plaintiff had been working with reached out to see if the expert was still needed. I can only imagine they were hoping …

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 ...

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 …

With this case, the hits just keep coming...
With this case, the hits just keep coming... Mitya Ivanov, Unsplash

What do you do when your expert's damages opinion gets excluded, the Court rules you cannot proceed based solely on the factual evidence, and you bear the burden of proof?

According to an opinion from Judge Andrews yesterday, one option is to call the other side’s expert—even if the other side otherwise refuses to put her on the stand.

This Case Again?

We've actually talked about this case, Shure Inc. v. ClearOne, Inc., C.A. No. 19-1343-RGA-CJB (D. Del.), quite a bit at this point, including defendant's efforts to use DJ jurisdiction to keep part of the case out of Delaware, and plaintiff's effort …

Hans Reniers, Unsplash

On Friday, Judge Andrews issued an opinion adopting a Special Master opinion, which held that certain pre-litigation testing documents were not covered by attorney privilege.

Pre-Litigation Testing Not Protected by Attorney-Client Privilege If Not Provided to Attorneys

The Court found that the pre-litigation scientific testing was not covered by attorney-client privilege, even though they may have been done "at the direction of" a law firm, because the core purpose was for the client's understanding rather than for facilitating legal advice:

I do not think [plaintiff] First Quality has shown that the attorney-client privilege applies to any of the [relevant] disputed . . . documents. Plaintiff's position is that everything [the expert] Dr. Malburg did falls "well …