A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware


Entries for tag: Pennypack

Special Master Williams quoted Judge Andrews' recent holding that a new <a href='#' class='abbreviation' data-bs-toggle='tooltip' data-placement='top' title='Doctrine of Equivalents'>DOE</a> argument
Special Master Williams quoted Judge Andrews' recent holding that a new DOE argument "creates a new balgame." Caitlin Conner, Unsplash

Yesterday, Special Master Gregory B. Williams, who has been nominated to replace Judge Stark, issued an order granting a motion to strike late Doctrine of Equivalents contentions.

In TQ Delta, LLC v. Comcast Cable Communications LLC, C.A. No. 15-611-RGA, D.I. 455 (D. Del. May 24, 2022), plaintiff served a new DOE theory over two months after final contentions were due, after it found—following non-infringement contentions received from the defendants—that its original DOE theory would fail.

Special Master Williams rejected …

Copyright Symbol
Andrew E. Russell

We've talked before about how asserting invalidity based on system prior art (as opposed to written publications, for example) can be tricky, because accused infringers can face all kinds of sometimes-unexpected difficulties with proving up the prior art.

Parties often get into sticky evidentiary questions about exactly what kinds of evidence are sufficient to show that the relevant prior art was on sale before the priority date, and how the prior art functioned—and whether that all of that evidence has authenticity or hearsay issues.

On Friday, Magistrate Judge Burke issued a long oral report and recommendation to grant summary judgment of no invalidity based on a system prior art reference. In the case, the defendants relied …

Bare Bones
Mathew Schwartz, Unsplash

Sufficiency of each parties' contentions is one of the most common issues in patent cases in Delaware. Both sides tend to want to know exactly what the other side plans to argue—ideally before claim construction. That way the parties can construe the terms that actually matter, and have straightforward dispute about whether the accused product and the prior art meets the claim elements.

Beyond that, both parties typically want the other side to be held to what they disclosed in their contentions. The rules generally prohibit a party from disclosing one thing and then arguing something else later, for no reason (although Third Circuit law can be remarkably soft on this point).

Having a reasonable idea …

Ouch.
Ouch. Emil Kalibradov, Unsplash

Back in September we wrote about how Judge Andrews rejected an expert who relied on a 50/50 starting point to show damages in a patent case. We noted at the time that the defendant had moved to strike any follow-up theory by the plaintiff, and it wasn't clear that the Court had ruled on it before trial began.

Now we know what actually happened. Yesterday, the Court released its opinion on the motion to strike. In its opinion, the Court explained that after the plaintiff lost its damages expert, the plaintiff tried to "cobble together" a damages theory from various facts on the Friday before trial. The Court struck that new theory:

[Plaintiff] NexStep …

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 …

When it comes to supplemental expert reports, how late is too late?

In a case that's set for trial next month, Judge Andrews recently addressed the parties' objections to a number of orders and R&Rs issued by Magistrate Judge Burke. In one of those orders, Judge Burke granted a motion to exclude some of the plaintiffs' damages calculations as erroneous and unreliable.

The plaintiffs objected, and in the meantime, they served a supplemental damages report attempting "[t]o correct the flawed analysis" excluded by Judge Burke.

Judge Andrews not only overruled the objections, but also found that the supplemental report was submitted too late:

The report was filed less than three weeks before trial. . . . This is …

Cave
Cade Roberts, Unsplash

Over the past year, we've noticed that the D. Del. judges have shown an increasing willingness to exclude late-disclosed evidence and theories. Until recently, motions to strike were difficult to win under the Third Circuit's Pennypack standard. If the prejudice caused by the late disclosure could be cured, it was almost impossible to get anything excluded.

Today, harkening back to an earlier time, Judge Andrews denied cross-motions to strike allegedly late-disclosed theories from the parties' opening expert reports. Although he found that the defendant's motion presented a close call on late disclosure, he concluded that "[e]ven if these infringement theories were untimely, I find, under the Pennypack factors, that their exclusion is not warranted."

At …

Ref
Nathan Shively, Unsplash

We've written several times about the Pennypack factors—the Third Circuit standard for determining whether to exclude late-disclosed evidence. Although the standard itself is fairly lenient (focusing on prejudice and whether it can be cured), the D. Del. judges have shown an increasing willingness to exclude evidence under Pennypack in recent years.

Earlier today, for example, Judge Stark applied Pennypack to preclude four witnesses from testifying at an upcoming jury trial (two from each side). The witnesses were disclosed months after the close of fact discovery, and Judge Stark refused to force the parties to use their limited trial prep time for clean-up discovery: "there is not sufficient time in the 12 remaining days before trial …

Penny
Adam Nir, Unsplash

As we've discussed, parties sometimes treat the deadline for "substantial completion of document production" as a soft deadline, doing a "rolling production" afterwards that can be quite voluminous. An opinion from Judge Bibas today shows the risk of not taking that deadline seriously.

In the opinion, Judge Bibas excluded over 60,000 rows of spreadsheet sales data that were produced by a defendant in an Fair Labor Standards Act class action, after the defendant waited until six months after the deadline for substantial completion of document production to produce the data.

As usual for Judge Bibas, his opinion is an interesting read and a bit different from what we typically see from other judges in Delaware. …

We keep writing about how hard it is to win a motion to strike in D. Del., which is generally true. That said, it's still possible to get late-disclosed theories and evidence excluded, especially when there's no good explanation for the delay.

Yesterday afternoon, one plaintiff learned that lesson the hard way. As often happens, the plaintiff argued that the defendant's expert raised new opinions on motivation-to-combine in his reply report.

But instead of moving to strike (or seeking leave to submit a sur-rebuttal report, or dealing with the issue during expert depositions...), the plaintiff simply waited until summary judgment briefing. There, it submitted a rebuttal declaration from its own expert in support of its answering brief on invalidity. …