A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware

Entries for tag: Litigation

Not the hoped-for result.
Not the hoped-for result. Michael Jin, Unsplash

Sometimes it's nice to know what doesn't work.

In AlterWAN, Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc., C.A. No. 19-1544-MN (D. Del.), the parties stipulated to a judgment of non-infringement after the Court construed certain terms of the patent, and then appealed to the Federal Circuit.

The Federal Circuit vacated the stipulated judgment because it found it was not specific enough, and remanded the case. See AlterWAN, Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc., 63 F.4th 18, 23 (Fed. Cir. 2023) (“[W]e cannot ‘ascertain the basis for the judgment’ of non-infringement, . . . because the parties did not adequately explain how the claim construction rulings related to the accused systems.”).

On remand, the …

"Yes, your honor, it literally meets the claim elements of an 'animal' in a 'structure' with a 'gable roof.' But under the reverse doctrine of equivalents . . ." Go to Tomas Tuma's profile Tomas Tuma, Unsplash

The reverse doctrine of equivalents and ensnarement are great for accused infringers, but for whatever reason they often seem to get set by the wayside.

RDOE for You and Me

Reverse doctrine of equivalents has a terrible name. It's really just the argument that even if the accused product meets the literal elements of the claim, it does not infringe because it is performs the claimed function in a substantially different way than the claimed invention.

As Judge Connolly put it …

Greg Rosenke, Unsplash

This post continues our Halloween theme of things that induce nightmares and shake the hearts of the stoutest Delaware counsel.

The parties in Stragent, LLC v. Volvo Car USA, LLC, C.A. No. 22-293-JDW (D. Del.) filed a joint appendix of exhibits alongside some supplemental SJ briefing. The defendant filed a motion to seal its SJ brief, which apparently discussed internal software specifications.

The Court granted the motion to seal the SJ brief, but criticized the brief in strong terms:

Volvo seeks to file its supplemental summary judgment brief under seal, but it’s supporting brief doesn’t say much. For example, while Volvo makes generic references to “proprietary commercial, financial and business information” and …

In D. Del., stipulated extensions of the schedule are routine and are normally granted, with occasional exceptions. Usually, when the Court grants them, it results in an unremarkable order like this:

Order re Stipulated Extension

There's really nothing there. Occasionally, though, it results in an order like the below. Can you spot the difference?

Order re Stipulated Extension with Attachment

Can you see it? It's tiny. The only difference is that the docket number ("52") is a link. I don't blame you if you missed it.

Usually, clicking on that link, you'll find a plain-Jane stamped or signed version of the stip as filed. Nothing remarkable or meaningful at all. It feels wrong to bill .1 hours to a client to click on the stip and look at …

Markus Winkler, Unsplash

An order on Friday reminded me of a local counsel issue that comes up from time to time here in D. Del.

Whenever a party files a motion or a brief, the docket on PACER automatically includes a due date, like so:

312 OPENING BRIEF in Support re 311 MOTION to Amend Judgment, filed by ViaTech Technologies Inc..Answering Brief/Response due date per Local Rules is 11/8/2023. (Mayo, Andrew) . . . (Entered: 10/25/2023)

ViaTech Technologies, Inc. v. Adobe Inc., C.A. No. 20-358-RGA-JLH (D. Del. Oct. 25, 2023).

The docket text is not perfectly clear, but that due date is automatically generated based on a set of rules in PACER (that are …

愚木混株 cdd20, Unsplash

It's easy to think that, once an opposing party takes a position on the record as to a legal issue, it can never change that position. Not so.

Today Judge Andrews addressed an argument that defendants who lost at trial were nonetheless bound by their "judicial admissions," thus preventing them from taking a (purportedly) contradictory position after trial. Not surprisingly, the defendants disagreed:

Plaintiff argues that Defendants made representations before and at trial that directly contradict positions that Defendants must take in order to prove an interference-in-fact. . . . Plaintiff notes that Defendants' representations were "judicial admissions." . . . . Therefore, Plaintiff argues, Defendants cannot establish an interference-in-fact between the '537 patent and the '207 patent, and I must dismiss the counterclaim against the '537 patent as moot for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Defendants respond that Plaintiff does not invoke estoppel—or any other legal theory—that would support dismissing their claims. . . . Defendants add that, in any case, they are not estopped from abandoning their trial positions, nor from invoking theories that Plaintiff presented at trial, because Plaintiff prevailed over them at trial.

The Court found the the defendants were ...

At a hearing today, Judge Kennelly set forth his preferences on how parties files documents in CM/ECF. He explained that he deals with all filings electronically, and large exhibits as permitted by the Delaware CM/ECF system interfere with his work flow.

He threatened to deny motions going forward (at least in that case) if parties combine exhibits in that way, specifically pointing to the following docket item:

Judge Kennelly Example

As you can see in the highlight, the party combined multiple exhibits into sub-filings, which makes it difficult and slow to download, and impossible to download individual exhibits.

Judge Kennelly prefers that parties do it this way:

Judge Kennelly Example - Correct

Visiting Judge Wolson has expressed similar concerns for similar reasons, and his procedures go a step …

Words to live by when thinking about whether you need to go to the Court on your nth dispute this week.
Words to live by when thinking about whether you need to go to the Court on your nth dispute this week. George Pagan III, Unsplash

It's easy, especially at trial or in the lead-up to trial, to feel like you need to bring every dispute to the Court. The stakes in patent cases tend to be high, clients want to see progress, and sometimes every little dispute ends up feeling critical (particularly if the outcome impacts your trial plans).

Beyond that, sometimes more junior associates are tasked with handling disputes as trial approaches—and may be given the implicit authority to raise disputes, but not to resolve them. Shockingly, disputes can then multiply pretty quickly.

What happens when you start …

A lot of things can go wrong in law. Keeping track of the labyrinthine tangle of laws, local rules, standing orders, and judicial preferences, is a daunting task. Checking and re-checking documents to make sure they comply with all of these rules is enough to make a person a bit neurotic. But, with the aid of experience and some hard lessons, you eventually come to grips with things and develop a certain comfort with the systems hard edges.

Until of course you stumble upon something new to worry about, and then you get the shakes all over again.

This cartoon is much darker than I intended, but I'm out of credits for the month
AI-Generated, displayed with permission

To that end, I submit to you this footnote in Cipla USA, Inc. v. Ipsen Biopharms., Inc., C.A. No. 22-552-GBW-SRF (D. Del. Mar. 1, 2023) (R&R), on the dangers of not checking your links:

In support of this assertion, Ipsen cites an "Update to Information Regarding Medicare Payment and Coding for Drugs and Biologics," dated May 18,2007. (D.I. 23 at 4 n.4) A document by the same name and having the same date is referenced in Cipla's complaint. (D.I. 1 at [Paragraph] 5c) To the extent that these documents are, in fact, the same, the court may consider them as "matters incorporated by reference" into the complaint without converting the motion to dismiss to one for summary judgment. See Kickjlip, Inc. v. Facebook, Inc., 999 F. Supp. 2d 677, 682 (D. Del. 2013). In this case, however, there are different hyperlinks associated with the document in the complaint and in Ipsen's reply brief. (Compare D.I. 1 at, 5c with D.I. 23 at 4 n.4) The hyperlink in the complaint functions, whereas the hyperlink in the reply brief does not. Ipsen does not set forth any basis for the court's consideration of the material, and the court cannot independently verify whether this material is the same as the document referenced in the complaint due to the defective hyperlink.

Id. at 7 n.4.

Oof. To Summarize here -- the defendant moved to dismiss and cited a document that was linked in, but not attached to, the complaint. The Court declined to consider it, because the link in the brief was ...

Pictured: The poor associate, who writes the briefs, carts the boxes, and dutifully passes polite notes up as the partner mangles the argument
Pictured: The poor associate, who writes the briefs, carts the boxes, and dutifully passes polite notes up as the partner mangles the argument AI-Generated

One question I've seen from time to time is "what should we bring to the hearing?" Not "how should we prepare," but what physical stuff should litigators bring on the day of a hearing or oral argument?

I thought it would be useful to post a checklist—both for you, our readers, and so that I can send it around in response to future questions.

The checklist below should be considered ideas for what to bring. Practiced litigators undoubtedly already have their own systems, and every hearing is different. You should not bring everything below to every hearing. This list is instead meant as a last-minute, "I'm about to head out the door, is there anything else I should bring?" checklist to spark ideas.

Note that this is geared towards oral argument in patent cases in the District of Delaware, but much of it is applicable to other kinds of hearings ...