A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware


Entries for tag: local-rules

Light Bulb
Alessandro Bianchi, Unsplash

While motions for reconsideration are frequently filed, they are not frequently granted. Typically they are shut down pretty easily. The rules put the moving party in a box, because parties can neither repeat arguments from their brief nor offer new arguments.

These motions are sometimes granted, though, and Judge Connolly granted one such motion late last month. I thought it would be interesting to look at what worked.

What happened?

The Court had originally granted a motion to exclude expert testimony from a defendant's infringement expert, on the grounds that the expert had testified that the presence of additional structure in a means-plus-function claim results in non-infringement.

We discussed this opinion at the time, pointing out that violating a well-established rule like that one is a great way to get an expert opinion excluded. ...

Paper
ron dyar, Unsplash

It's hard to get a significant increase to the normal briefing limits in D. Del., even if both sides agree. Sometimes a judge will grant a small increase (if there's a good reason), but for the most part, they're reluctant to grant requests that will have a large impact on their workload.

Case in point: In a multi-defendant ANDA case that went to trial last month, the parties submitted a post-trial briefing schedule asking Chief Judge Stark to allow "in excess of 500 pages of briefing and an additional almost 500 pages of proposed findings of fact[.]"

Judge Stark quickly rejected the proposal and ordered shorter limits. And although he allowed "[a]ny party that strenuously objects …

Le Duel a l'Épée et au Poignard (The Duel with the Sword and Dagger)
Le Duel a l'Épée et au Poignard (The Duel with the Sword and Dagger), Jacques Callot

After we talked last week about an unsuccessful effort to bypass the Court's discovery dispute procedures, I thought it might be interesting to talk about what those procedures are, for people who don't practice here day in and day out.

A discovery dispute is a special procedure that allows the parties to receive a (relatively) quick hearing to resolve issues that arise during discovery. Bringing a discovery dispute is the only way the Court allows the parties to address these kinds of discovery issues in a typical District of Delaware case (including both patent and non-patent cases).

Is This in the Rules or What?

Discovery disputes are not mentioned in the local rules, but all of the judges have discovery dispute procedures in their form scheduling orders. ...

Longstanding practice in the District of Delaware, pursuant to the Court's local rules and the Judges' form scheduling orders and other standing orders, mandated page limits for briefing.
For example, the Court's local rules set limits of 20 pages for opening, briefs 20 pages for answering briefs, and 10 pages for reply briefs, all in 12 point font. See LR 7.1.3(a)(4); LR 5.1.1(a). However, since about mid-2019, some Judges here have permitted or required word limits in lieu of page limits for some types of documents.

COVID-19
COVID-19, CDC/Hannah A Bullock; Azaibi Tamin

Here's something you don't see every day.

After a discovery dispute about bringing a parties' European witnesses to the US for deposition during the pandemic, Judge Noreika ordered that depositions of a defendants' witnesses may initially take place by written questions under FRCP 31:

ORAL ORDER . . . IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that . . . Plaintiff may request a deposition of the witnesses pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 31. Any such deposition shall be subject to Local Rule 30.6, with the "commencement" of the written deposition being when Defendants' counsel receives the written questions and the "conclusion" of the deposition being when Defendants' counsel serves the response …

hiroshi-kimura-rtX4wxMEI2M-unsplash.jpg
Hiroshi Kimura, Unsplash

Since the early 2000's, the District of Delaware local rules have prohibited talking to a witness about the subject matter of their deposition testimony during a deposition:

RULE 30.6. Depositions Upon Oral Examination.
From the commencement until the conclusion of deposition questioning by an opposing party, including any recesses or continuances, counsel for the deponent shall not consult or confer with the deponent regarding the substance of the testimony already given or anticipated to be given, except for the purpose of conferring on whether to assert a privilege against testifying or on how to comply with a court order.

It's not uncommon for visiting counsel defending depositions in Delaware cases to not know this rule. …

Litigant requesting
Litigant requesting "extra pages" Belinda Fewings, Unsplash

This week saw the birth of a novel way to raise a claim narrowing dispute, and it strikes me as rather clever.

Typically the number of claims asserted gets raised as a discovery dispute or as part of the scheduling or status conference.

The plaintiff in TQ Delta, LLC v. Pace Americas, LLC, C.A. No. 13-1835-RGA (D. Del.), though, took a different tack and instead moved for extra pages for summary judgment briefing, explaining that it needed the extra pages because the defendant was asserting 18 invalidity defenses (against plaintiff's 2 asserted claims).

This resulted in the following turn of events:

  • Judge Andrews immediately issued an Oral Order requesting defendant …

While we're talking about reply briefs—Judge Connolly this month affirmed Judge Burke's conclusion that a defendant had "abandoned" arguments that it set forth in its opening brief, because the defendant failed to further address those arguments in a reply after receiving pushback in the answering brief.

Here is what Judge Burke said:

In its opening brief, Defendants appeared to challenge these claims on two other grounds . . . . However, after Plaintiff pushed back on these issues in its answering brief, Defendants did not further address the issues in their reply brief. . . . Thus, Defendants have abandoned these arguments and the Court will not further address them herein.

Judge Connolly disagreed that such arguments are …