A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware


Entries for tag: Sanctions

Fire Extinguisher
Piotr Chrobot, Unsplash

An interesting transcript just hit the docket in CBV, Inc. v. ChanBond, LLC, C.A. No. 21-1456-GBW (D. Del.), a contract case, after the transcript restrictions expired. The hearing itself took place back in April, before Judge Noreika.

In the case, defendant ChanBond filed a letter seeking emergency relief after it inadvertently served a sealed filing on out-of-town counsel for another party, who allegedly took the position that he need not maintain the confidentiality of the document, either under the Court's order sealing the document or local rule 26.2 (which provides a confidentiality obligation prior to the entry of a protective order, as explained below).

Out-of-town counsel responded to the request for emergency …

Be Careful
Josh Frenette, Unsplash

In a pair of orders last week in Shopify Inc. v. Express Mobile, Inc., C.A. No. 19-439-RGA (D. Del.), Judge Andrews set out guidelines for the trial testimony of two fact witnesses, who will offer testimony at trial regarding some prior art references (among other things).

The procedural background here is surprising. The patentee moved in limine to exclude the testimony of these witnesses, and the Court addressed the motion at a pre-trial status conference. There, the Court directed that the parties depose the witnesses and that the accused infringer submit proffers of the testimony that will be offered at trial.

That a Lot of Briefing

The parties then filed a stipulation setting …

Truth
Michael Carruth, Unsplash

Judge Andrews issued an interesting opinion today denying a requested $9 million attorneys' fee award in Acceleration Bay LLC v. Take-Two Interactive Software, C.A. No. 16-455-RGA (D. Del.).

There were a number of facts in defendant's favor, but not quite enough to get over the bar for fees under § 285. The one that most caught my eye was that the Court had previously expressed concerns about counsel's candor—a rare thing for the Court in the District of Delaware to do:

Defendants argue that the impropriety of Plaintiff's litigation conduct-including the lack of candor, forcing relitigation of lost issues, and the pattern of inappropriate conduct in previous cases-further proves that this case …

Fire Department
Mor Shani, Unsplash

In IOEngine v. Paypal Holdings, Inc., C.A. No. 18-452-WCB (D. Del.), the inventor kept a box of 33 prototypes for his invention in his basement "laboratory."

One of the prototypes—the "MediKey device"—had been the subject of intense dispute in a previous case on his patent. It had been analyzed by experts for both sides, who disputed its functionality and whether he had accurately described it to the PTO (as part of an inequitable conduct claim).

After a series of electrical incidents and fires in his laboratory, involving visits from various electricians and fire control personnel, the inventor discovered that the prototypes were in a new box and that the MediKey device was missing. …

PLEASE STAND BY . . . while we figure out why we only produced 13 e-mails
PLEASE STAND BY . . . while we figure out why we only produced 13 e-mails RCA

Yesterday, Magistrate Judge Fallon granted a motion for sanctions against One World Technologies, Inc., a defendant in a patent action, for failing to produce the bulk of its e-mail until 13 months after the plaintiff's initial request.

Defendant One World initially produced only 13 e-mails in response to plaintiff's requests, served back in April 2020. According to a later declaration of counsel, One World's attorneys had received multiple gigabyte's worth of .pst files containing e-mail from the agreed-upon custodians. But they found those files to be corrupted, and they relied on their clients' determination that all but 134 of the e-mails were unrecoverable. …

Fire. I couldn't find an image of raining brimstone.
Fire. I couldn't find an image of raining brimstone. Ricardo Gomez Angel, Unsplash

On Monday, Judge Noreika sanctioned a patentee plaintiff for not following the protective order regarding source code.

Here is what the plaintiff did:

Plaintiff violated the Protective Order at least six times over a period of almost one year by: 1) creating an electronic copy of the source code on July 6, 2020; 2) sending that electronic copy to a vendor that had not signed the Acknowledgement and Agreement to Be Bound by Stipulated Protective Order (which actually violated two provisions of the Protective Order); 3) failing to maintain a log of all copies; 4) storing an electronic and apparently unencrypted copy of the source code …

A sweetgum ball obliterated by a hatchet, a fate similar to that of plaintiffs' <a href='#' class='abbreviation' data-bs-toggle='tooltip' data-placement='top' title='Temporary Restraining Order'>TRO</a>
A sweetgum ball obliterated by a hatchet, a fate similar to that of plaintiffs' TRO Andrew E. Russell, CC BY 2.0

The practice in Delaware has long been that calls to chambers are generally only appropriate in a relatively narrow range of circumstances, and "please decide my motion immediately" is not one of them.

It looks like one plaintiff's counsel may have learned this this hard way on Wednesday when they filed a TRO seeking to enforce an arbitration clause in an employment agreement, and then immediately called the court to urge that it receive immediate attention. Here is the Court's response, issued the same day as …

Excellent, now set it on fire . . . the hoop
Excellent, now set it on fire . . . the hoop Border Collie jumping through the hoop at NZDAC Gore New Zealand, Andrea Lightfoot, Unsplash

In Delaware, there are a few hoops to jump through if you want to bring a discovery dispute before the Court. Local Rule 7.1.1 is the most basic, and requires the parties to make "reasonable efforts" to resolve their disputes, including verbal communications between opposing Delaware Counsel.

Next, each Judge has their particular procedures for bringing the dispute, either requiring a joint phone call to chambers (Judges Connolly, Noreika, and Andrews) or a joint letter outlining the issues and confirming that the parties have met and conferred (Judge Stark). In either case, the parties …

Mirrored
Mirrored Alex Iby, Unsplash

Last month, Judge Burke struck "a substantial portion" of an expert's infringement report after the expert relied on his own anonymous peer review to prove infringement, without disclosing that he had been the author.

The truth did not come out until the deposition.

The Expert Secretly Relied On His Own Prior Anonymous Writing

Plaintiffs in this action allege infringement only via the doctrine of equivalents, arguing that the differences between the accused drug and the claimed drug are insubstantial. Defendant argues that the differences are substantial, relying in part on a 2016 article showing that the accused drug performs significantly better than the claimed drug.

Plaintiffs' expert reports criticized the 2016 article based on two …

Google tells me
Google tells me "hide the ball" is a football thing. Dave Adamson, Unsplash

In Guest Tek Interactive Entertainment, Ltd. v. Nomadix, Inc., C.A. No. 18-1394-RGA (D. Del.), plaintiff sent RFPs for various financial documents, but defendant produced only a single page profit and loss statement for each year, claiming no more was available.

Plaintiff brought a discovery dispute and asked Judge Andrews to order production of any further documents in defendant's possession.

Judge Andrews declined. Instead, he sua sponte suggested that the parties resolve this via a 30(b)(6) deposition about the kinds of financial information that defendant keeps:

[D]o a 30(b)(6) deposition and find out if there are any other documents. And you know, …