A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware


CFC
The Honorable Colm F. Connolly

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Adolfo Félix, Unsplash

The short answer is: it depends on the judge.

These days, most Delaware patent plaintiffs are incorporated in Delaware but not located here. Different District of Delaware judges have gone different ways on the question of whether a plaintiff's location actually matters when considering whether to transfer a case out of Delaware.

Transfer motions are governed by the twelve "Jumara factors," and plaintiff's choice of forum gets "paramount" weight except—some judges have held—when the plaintiff is not actually located in Delaware.

Judge Connolly today answered this question with a resounding "no," holding that the location of plaintiff's principal place of business does not matter to whether it's choice of forum gets paramount weight: …

On September 3, 2020, Judge Connolly invalidated five asserted patents as patent ineligible on a single Rule 12 motion. In Sensormatic Electronics, LLC v. Wyze Labs, Inc., C.A. No. 19-1543-CFC, Judge Connolly granted defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings, invalidating five of seven asserted patents (two of the seven were no longer being asserted).

MTD

Judge Connolly has previously denied a motion to dismiss direct infringement claims where the plaintiff at least recited the claim elements and accused a product of meeting them. Last week, though, he granted a motion to dismiss where the plaintiff did not even go that far.

Even though the patent included only method claims, plaintiff accused only products of infringing, without identifying any accused process or alleging how it is performed by those products.

Even as to those products, plaintiff contradicted itself, identifying smartphones as accused, but also discussing servers, software, and "other devices and technology." Judge Connolly called these allegations "confusing and contradictory."

Judge Connolly did grant leave to amend, and gave them a month to fix their …

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Poker Night, Michał Parzuchowski, Unsplash

On Monday, Judge Connolly issued a Memorandum Order squarely rejecting the notion that requiring a patentee to drop asserted claims for case management purposes violates due process.

Claim narrowing is one of those issues in patent law that is frequently litigated, but rarely produces a full opinion. Often, a plaintiff asserts a monstrously large number of claims, the defendant then complains that a trial on 396 claims is impossible, and the plaintiff notes that requiring them to drop the claims implicates due process. Then, everything is teed up for a discovery dispute resulting in a brief oral order narrowing the case without significant analysis.

The dispute in VLSI Technology LLC v. Intel Corporation …

A Crack
Crack on white concrete surface, Brina Blum, Unsplash

Two opinions in the past week have come to differing conclusions as to whether the recitation of claim elements in a complaint is sufficient to state a plausible allegation of infringement.

Recitation of Claim Elements Helpful

In the first, Dynamic Data Technologies, LLC v. Brightcove Inc., No. 19-1190-CFC (D. Del. July 20, 2020), the Court denied a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss an allegation of direct infringement, stating that it was sufficient to:

identif[y] products accused of infringing each of the asserted patents, identif[y] at least one claim of each asserted patent that the accused products infringe, and describe[] how those products infringe the identified claim.

To show …

While pre-institution stays pending IPR are usually seen as disfavored in this District, they are occasionally granted. The circumstances must be right, however.

Judge Connolly recently ordered a stay in Allergan USA, Inc. v. Prollenium US Inc., C.A. No. 20-0104-CFC pending IPRs that had been filed—but not instituted—on all asserted claims.

He noted that a related action had already been stayed pending IPR, and that the defendants had agreed "to forgo their inequitable conduct counterclaims and defenses in both actions," and found good cause to stay. As a condition of the stay, he required that defendants dismiss their inequitable conduct defenses and counterclaims, and ordered that they would be "barred" from pursuing those defenses in both actions...

The reference at issue, JP 1992-136787

Japanese patent publications are typically considered to be fairly safe prior art references, as long as you prove up authenticity and offer sufficient evidence of publication.

But it turns out that that second part—showing publication—is kind of important.

In F'real Foods LLC v. Hamilton Beach Brands, Inc., C.A. No. 16-41-CFC, Judge Connolly excluded a Japanese Patent Office Utility Model Publication on a motion in limine because the defendants failed to show that it was publicly accessible under § 102, based largely on defendants' own position in opposing IPR estoppel.

Couldn't Have Found Reference = No IPR Estoppel

The F'real defendants had previously filed an unsuccessful IPR, and plaintiff moved to exclude the reference based on IPR estoppel. …