A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware


LPS
The Honorable Leonard P. Stark

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Girl holding American Dollar Bills, Alexander Mils, Unsplash

Those with a habit of perusing these posts (thank you, persons of class and distinction) may recall the interesting case of Almirall, LLC v. Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd., C.A No. 20-1373-LPS, D.I. 50 (D. Del. July 13, 2021) where Judge Stark granted a 12(c) motion after ruling that the plaintiff had waived various arguments by failing to raise them until oral argument.

I, for one, expected that to be the last we heard of that case for some time. Last Friday, however, Judge Stark granted Almirall's motion to amend the complaint to reassert these same claims, based on new allegations similar to those the Court previously found waived. Judge …

Late last week, Judge Stark granted defendant's request for litigation fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 in Princeton Digital Image Corp. v. Ubisoft Entertainment SA, C.A. No. 13-335-LPS-CJB, following an award of summary judgment of non-infringement to the defendant and a summary affirmance at the Federal Circuit.

Plaintiff PDIC's patents are directed to virtual reality programs controlled by music or control tracks created from music. Defendant Ubisoft asserted that the accused games manually synchronized the video, soundtrack, and other effects on a timeline, and were not controlled by music or a control track created from music.

During claim construction, Judge Burke found that plaintiff had disclaimed certain subject matter during IPR proceedings...

Narrows
Karan Chawla, Unsplash

Case narrowing is an issue that eventually comes up in most patent cases—the idea that each party should have to reduce the number of claims and prior art references at points during the case.

How Claim Narrowing Usually Goes in a Patent Action

If parties want to avoid a dispute down the line, they can include case narrowing in the scheduling order. More often, however, it comes up at some point after the plaintiffs makes its initial election of asserted claims, and the parties start to get an understanding of the scope of the case.

Typically the initial narrowing occurs before claim construction, and a second round occurs afterwards, sometimes around the time of final contentions. …

Chalkboard Math
Roman Mager, Unsplash

By default, patent cases in Delaware are typically scheduled for a five-day jury trial in the initial scheduling order. Sometimes, however, it seems that parties don't give any further thought about what the actually means until they need to file a pretrial order much later in the case.

Delaware jury trials are strictly timed. Those who are less familiar with how jury trials typically go may expect that they'll have more time than they really will. A simple back-of-the-envelope calculation by someone who is not in-the-know might be:

40 hours per week / 2 sides = 20 hours per side

That would be wrong. The actual, practical number of hours per side for a five-day patent …

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 …

"Oh god. What did our expert just say?" Jamie Haughton, Unsplash

More and more NPE cases have moved to Delaware over the last few years, following TC Heartland. Defendants often try to deal with NPE cases by threatening fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285, with varying degrees of success.

A § 285 fees opinion today by Judge Stark offers an interesting data point as to what kind of conduct is not sufficient to render a case as a whole exceptional under § 285, as well as a lesson on how to best to pursue a fees motion.

In Intellectual Ventures I LLC v. Trend Micro Inc., C.A. No. 12-1581-LPS (D. Del.), the patentee's …

Sometimes Arguments Solve Nothing
Sometimes Arguments Solve Nothing Sarah Kilian, Unsplash

It's uncommon to see the Court dismiss an ANDA case before trial. The patents are usually grounded enough to avoid easy 101 issues, infringement is as likely to be conceded as disputed, and any other serious invalidity contentions are normally simply reserved for trial (none of our Delaware judges allow for SJ motions in ANDA cases without leave).

That being the case, Judge Stark's dismissal of the complaint in Almirall, LLC v. Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd., C.A No. 20-1373-LPS, D.I. 50 (D. Del. July 13, 2021) ("Almirall II"), via a 12(c) motion is worthy of comment merely because it dismissed an ANDA complaint on the pleadings before Markman. …

Judge Stark issued a claim construction ruling in a large multi-district ANDA case last week, touching on interesting questions regarding the nature of intrinsic evidence and the impact of disclaimers on child applications.

The parties to In re Entresto (SacubitriWalsartan) Patent Litigation, C.A. No. 20-2930-LPS presented the Court with just a few issues for resolution.

First, the Court considered whether independent claims of two of the patents-in-suit directed to administration of a "combination" of active ingredients should be limited to administering those ingredients as "two separate components“…

We've written several times about Judge Stark's practice of holding "101 days." For the uninitiated, these are day-long hearings in which the court hears argument on multiple 101 motions from unrelated cases in a single, combined hearing. He has continued this practice throughout the pandemic, holding telephonic 101 days roughly once a quarter since July 2020.

He held another one last Friday, and he issued his written rulings earlier today. This time, he addressed three 12(b)(6) motions covering a total of four patents.

F45 Training Pty Ltd. v. Body Fit Training USA Inc. (C.A. No. 20-1194-LPS)

The claims were "directed to the abstract idea of storing, sending, and retrieving information over a network." Judge Stark found that this …

Here's a new one: A defendant in Natera, Inc. v. ArcherDX, Inc., C.A. No. 20-125-LPS (D. Del.) wanted to delay the trial to coordinate the schedule with another case involving an overlapping patent. So it filed a letter asking for leave to file a 3-page letter briefs, or to have a teleconference:

Given the parties have been unable to agree on an appropriate approach for coordination of both cases, we respectfully request leave to submit the competing views to Your Honor during a status conference or 3-page letter briefs.

Chief Judge Stark denied the request, directing the parties to file a motion instead:

ORAL ORDER: Having reviewed the parties' letters . . . relating to [the …