A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware


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"We didn't need that joint brief anyway ... (sob)" Jeff Kingma, Unsplash

Judge Andrews issued an interesting order on Friday. Based on the docket, it looks like the parties had fully completed the Markman process (disclosures, meet-and-confer, joint claim chart, and joint brief), and had briefed a total of 16 terms. Judge Andrews canceled the Markman and "dismissed" the briefing:

ORAL ORDER: The parties have submitted a joint claim construction with the request that I construe at least 16 terms including, for example, comprising and patient. I think that if I postpone the Markman hearing, some of these disputes may fall away. Therefore, the Markman hearing scheduled for June 23 is cancelled. The Markman briefing is dismissed. The parties …

Pittsburgh, PA, home of the Western District
Andrew E. Russell, displayed with permission

Last week, the District of Delaware began assigning patent cases to visiting judge J. Nicholas Ranjan of W.D. Pa. As far as I can tell, these are the first D. Del. cases to be assigned to Judge Ranjan.

Following the assignments, Judge Ranjan issued the following order in each case:

ORDER, regarding practices and procedures of Judge Ranjan. I was recently reassigned several patent cases in the District of Delaware. In order to provide some degree of procedural consistency, I intend to follow all local rules and standing orders of the District of Delaware, and I intend to utilize Judge Andrews forms and orders, until further notice. So counsel should comply with all …

It takes a lot to get a legitimate audible laugh out of us at IPDE, but Judge Noreika managed it with one of her orders this week:

On 5/25/2023, the Court issued an Oral Order stating in part that "[t]he Court will not...accept further ex parte emails." Nevertheless, on 5/30/2023, the Court received an ex parte email stating: "We are not attempting to have an ex parte communication entered into the files. By the attached letter, we are attempting to comply with this Court's orders. Will you please provide the Honorable Judge Noreika the attached letter." The Court does not accept ex parte communications. The Court notes, however, that the referenced "attached letter" states that the patents-in-suit are "no longer …

TV
Possessed Photography, Unsplash

Chief Judge Connolly issued a memorandum order in the Backertop case today. We talked previously about how the plaintiff in Backertop is an LLC whose sole member is a paralegal who is married to an attorney who works at Mavexar, who gets just 5% of the proceeds of litigating the patents owned by the LLC (the rest goes to Mavexar).

Following a hearing last year, the Court ordered production of various documents, and ordered the owner of the LLC to appear again for a hearing on June 8. She asked to attend remotely due to other obligations.

Today, Chief Judge Connolly denied her request, but rescheduled her appearance for July (the June 8 hearing will still …

Stick Figure Bonk

We talked early last year about how Judge Noreika praised Chief Judge Connolly SJ ranking procedures, and applied them in a case where the parties had filed 11 SJ motions.

As a reminder, under Chief Judge Connolly's procedures, the parties rank their SJ and Daubert motions. The Court addresses them in order, and if it denies one, it then denies the remainder.

Needless to say, it can lead to some significant strategizing prior to filing, where parties try to balance the importance of each motion with its likelihood of success.

This week, Judge Noreika did it again, and I thought it was a good time to remind everyone that this can happen. In VB Assets, LLC v. Amazon.com, Inc. …

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 ...

I've got a real oddball fact pattern for you today. I'm not sure there's a takeaway for your everyday litigation life, but please remember to hug your experts -- you'll be glad you did.

AI-Generated, displayed with permission

The last time the plaintiff in Personal Audio LLC v. Google LLC, C.A. No. 17-1751-CFC (D. Del. May 22, 2023) spoke to their expert was in August 2021 when he submitted a declaration opposing a Daubert motion.

Sadly, he passed the following January.

Unfortunately, no one told the plaintiff.

Amazingly, two months after that the expert consulting firm plaintiff had been working with reached out to see if the expert was still needed. I can only imagine they were hoping …

Undo Button
Sergi Kabrera, Unsplash

On Wednesday, Judge Andrews issued an order in Salix Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. v. Norwich Pharmaceuticals, Inc., C.A. No. 20-430-RGA (D. Del. May 17, 2023) rejecting an attempt to evade judgment in an ANDA action based on the filing of an amended ANDA.

The defendant in the case had won on one method of treatment, and lost on the other. It filed an amended ANDA seeking to remove the infringing treatment from the label:

Defendant filed an ANDA seeking to make and market a drug for two different methods of treatment-the IBS-D indication and the HE indication. I had a bench trial. After trial, I ruled in Defendant's favor on the IBS-D indication (as …

Visualization of pendent venue
Visualization of pendent venue Chris Linnett, Unsplash

Today Chief Judge Connolly addressed a motion to dismiss a combined trade dress, federal unfair competition, copyright infringement, and design patent infringement action.

The parties apparently agreed that the defendant in the action did not meet the TC Heartland venue test for the patent portion of the action:

Argento is a New York corporation with its principal place of business in New York. . . . It is undisputed that Argento does not own, rent, or maintain any offices, physical property, addresses, or bank accounts in Delaware and does not employ any Delaware-based employees, agents, or representatives. It is also undisputed that venue of Globefill's patent claim against Argento does not lie …

Will this be the last time we use our COVID-19 image? I hope so.
Will this be the last time we use our COVID-19 image? I hope so. Fusion Medical Animation, Unsplash

Yesterday, the Judicial Conference announced the end to the exception permitting remote public access during COVID-19:

The COVID-19 emergency is no longer affecting the functioning of the federal courts, the Judicial Conference’s Executive Committee has found, setting in motion a 120-day grace period in which federal courts may continue to provide the same remote public audio access to civil and bankruptcy proceedings as they did during the emergency.
The Executive Committee finding takes effect May 24. The grace period, which ends Sept. 21, relates only to the Judiciary’s temporary broadcasting exception for remote audio public access to civil and bankruptcy proceedings. …