A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware


Entries for tag: Pennypack

"Please, dear Court, don't strike our new argument that totally prejudices the other side." Lampos Aritonang, Unsplash

It can sometimes be tough to decide whether to ask the Court permission, or to just do something. The answer can vary depending on the thing you are doing and the judge.

But certain things clearly require permission. Say, for example, offering a "supplemental" expert report with a new damages calculation almost two years after the reply expert report, and only 19 days before trial:

There is no dispute that MED-EL failed to disclose Barry Sussman’s most recent damages calculations based on survey results (set forth in Paragraph 11 of his Supplemental Expert Rebuttal Report) during the expert disclosure period. Indeed, the …

"Why were we late? Aliens! No wait—bigfoot. I don't know." Albert Antony, Unsplash

We've talked about how, when deciding whether a late disclosure should result in waiver, the Court applies the Third Circuits rather forgiving Pennypack factors.

We've also discussed how you really ought to have a reason for a late disclosure.

On Friday, we saw another example of that in Natera, Inc. v. CareDX, C.A. No. 20-038, D.I. 392 (D. Del. Oct. 6, 2023). Magistrate Judge Burke rejected the idea that a party can just not bother to provide an explanation for its late disclosure:

ORAL ORDER: The Court, having reviewed Plaintiff's motion to strike certain [expert] opinions . . . hereby GRANTS the remaining …

Motions to strike are tough in Delaware. Although the reign of Pennypack seems to be slowly entering its dotage, the door remains open for the late-disclosed.

Valentin Petkov, Unsplash

With exclusion so rare, its a bit odd we don't see more of Rule 37's lesser sanction -- fees.

But visiting Judge McCalla gave us one on Monday in Invacare Corp. v. Sunrise Medical (US) LLC, C.A. No. 21-823-JPM (D. Del. May 22, 2023) (Oral Order). The facts there were pretty stark.

The defendant had an inequitable conduct claim based on the patentee's failure to inform the PTO that identical claims had previously been rejected. Plaintiff's prosecution counsel testified that the failure was due to an error in an internal spreadsheet they kept of related applications that omitted the relevant application. Plaintiff had previously withheld the spreadsheet as privileged but eventually waived privilege and produced it.

Unfortunately, it came out during expert discovery that the spreadsheet actually contained the relevant application. This was probably a bad day for a lawyer somewhere. Plaintiff then went back to see if there were other versions of the spreadsheet that did omit the application -- they eventually found and produced some, but by then it was 4 months after the close of fact discovery.

Defendant moved to exclude these new references. Judge McCalla denied the motion but ordered plaintiff to pay what will surely be a hefty sum to cover the ...

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 …

Andrew Russell

When a party asks to do something outside of the time limits set by the scheduling order, the Court looks to whether there is "good cause" under FRCP 16(b)(4) to modify the scheduling order. Good cause requires diligence, generally meaning that the movant could not have reasonably met the deadline it's trying to move.

Last week we got two examples of diligence analyses from the Court, one that found that a party was diligent, and one that didn't. I thought it would be interesting to line them up and compare them.

"Immediately" = Good Cause

First, Judge Fallon found good cause where a plaintiff sought to depose a third-party witness after the close of fact discovery, after the …

"Did I remember to disclose my infringement counter-arguments? Ah well, I'll just argue that they're responsive." Tim Bogdanov, Unsplash

Judge Williams unsealed a detailed Pennypack decision Friday, where he struck an expert's infringement argument after the party failed to disclose it in their contentions.

The motion and brief provide some helpful context here. The defendant moved to strike material in the expert's opening report that apparently responded for the first time to arguments made in the defendant's non-infringement contentions. Cirba Inc. v. VMWare, Inc., C.A. No. 19-742-GBW, D.I. 1460 at 1 (D. Del. Nov. 28, 2022); Id., D.I. 1461 at 2-3.

The Court rejected an attempt to argue that the argument was "responsive" to a filing …

Is the reign of Pennypack coming to an end?
Is the reign of Pennypack coming to an end? AI-Generated

We talked earlier this year about a decision by Judge Burke that struck a parties' final infringement contentions under a good cause standard, and declined to apply the much looser Pennypack standard.

Today, citing Judge Burke's opinion, Judge Williams likewise declined to rely on Pennypack in striking late-served "Amended Final Invalidity Contentions":

According to the Court's Scheduling Order, Defendants must serve their Final Invalidity Contentions to Chervon by December 17, 2020, which they did so. D.I. 37 if 7(f). On July 27, 2022, Defendants served their Amended Final Invalidity Contentions. D.I. 316 at 1; D.I. 319 at 1. Defendants did not request leave from the Court to amend their Final …

In the before time, when the green grass grew tall even in the wan Wilmington sun, all scheduling orders had two rounds of contentions, one early in the case and another near the close of fact discovery. A bit over two years ago, Judge Connolly shook things up by introducing a new form order in his cases that included only a single round of contentions early in the case and requiring "good cause" to amend.

AI-Generated, displayed with permission

And so, on this slow news day, I decided to take a look back at how often parties manage to show the requisite good cause to amend their contentions in cases assigned to Judge Connolly (many of these are decided in the first instance by a magistrate judge).

The upshot is, that most of these motions seem to succeed. DocketNavigator shows 10 such motions in cases assigned to Judge Connolly (which strikes me as low, but I'm not a soulless trawling algorithm, so what do I know?). Of those 7 have been granted, and only 3 have been denied. Normally I would put in the percentages here, but I trust you all to do the math on this one.

This brings to mind another question, which I shall raise in a further blog post on another slow day, does Judge Connolly receive fewer motions like these than our judges who don't specifically require good cause? I.e., are parties who would otherwise just file late contentions and take their shot under Pennypack factors deciding not to do so because they know they can't show good cause?!

All this and more on next weeks episode of IPDE! (Batman theme plays)

"I knew we forgot something..." AI-Generated, displayed with permission

Yesterday Judge Williams issued an oral order in Board of Regents, The University of Texas System v. Boston Scientific Corporation, C.A. No. 18-392-GBW (D. Del.) addressing a dispute about whether plaintiffs could offer evidence of copying or other secondary considerations after they failed to disclose those argument until just before trial.

In a lengthy oral order, Judge Williams held that they had waited too long and are now precluded from offering evidence of copying or certain other secondary considerations.

According to the Court, plaintiff had failed to disclose its secondary considerations arguments despite numerous opportunities:

ORAL ORDER: . . . Plaintiff had several prior opportunities to advise [defendant] …

So Noble
So Noble Navi, Unsplash

The law can always surprise you. Sometimes this is a bad thing. For instance, I was surprised and saddened to learn that, in the city of Wilmington, you can only have a chicken if it is an emotional support animal who lives at least half of the year in your home. Unfortunately, Learned Claw is not yet house-trained.

Sometimes, though its a good surprise. The sort that you can wring a blog post out of if you can pad it with a personal anecdote (*coughs*).

For instance, I was surprised to learn that there was a dispute about the standard for reviewing one of the most common disputes in all of Delaware -- whether to strike contentions under the Pennypack factors.

The specific context at issue in the painfully long-running case of TQ Delta LLC v. Comcast Cable Communications LLC, was an objection to a Special Master's Order. The underlying dispute was your usual Pennypack issue, with one party complaining that the other had disclosed a new DOE theory too late in the game, and the other arguing that the theory was not really new at all. The Special Master went through all of the usual factors and ultimately struck ...