A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware


MN
The Honorable Maryellen Noreika

Our status report, your honor? We're all good.
Our status report, your honor? We're all good. Sincerely Media, Unsplash

As we've mentioned in the past, in D. Del. patent cases, the Court often sets deadlines for submission of a "status report" (or, sometimes, a "joint status report" or "interim status report").

These orders can be somewhat vague. The Court doesn't always request "a joint status report regarding xyz." Instead, at times, it will issue a generic request for a status report, like this:

ORAL ORDER - IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that, on or before 9/23/2022, the parties shall submit a joint status report. ORDERED by Judge Maryellen Noreika on 9/16/2022.

To which the natural human response is "a status report about what?" Usually, though, it's pretty …

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 …

Freshly preserved arguments, ready to be set aside for the winter...
Freshly preserved arguments, ready to be set aside for the winter... Olia Gozha, Unsplash

Parties often try to expressly reserve, preserve, and/or avoid waiver of arguments or the right to seek relief, often in a paper filed or served on the deadline to make the argument or seek the relief. It may not always work—but it's not very costly to give it a shot, either.

Last week, in Aqua Connect, Inc. v. TeamViewer US, Inc., C.A. No. 18-01572-MN (D. Del.), Judge Noreika rejected an attempt by a plaintiff who prevailed at trial to avoid having to raise its arguments regarding post-trial interest during post trial briefing.

After plaintiff won a $5.7m verdict in a jury trial …

Gary Chan, Unsplash

Hot on the heels of yesterday's post about Chief Judge Connolly's preferred style of Jury instructions, Judge Noreika just issued an Oral Order outlining her own preferences for the format and content of final jury instructions.

The parties in Aqua Connect, Inc. et al v. TeamViewer US, LLC, C.A. No. 18-1572-MN submitted their proposed final jury instructions to the Court about 2 weeks ago, which included several disputes. Yesterday Judge Noreika issued the Oral Order below requiring them to resubmit the proposal with several modifications:

The Court has reviewed the proposed final jury instructions and finds that submission does not conform with the Courts practices. Moreover, it appears as though the parties have not made …

Split
Bannon Morrissy, Unsplash

IPR estoppel can be kind of terrifying as an accused infringer in a patent action. The statute says that an accused infringer may not assert invalidity on a ground that it could have raised in the IPR; but you can't raise product prior art, so product prior art should be safe, right?

Nope. Courts have sometimes held that product prior art may still be estopped, if there is patent or written prior art that is sufficiently similar. See, e.g., Wasica Fin. GmbH v. Schrader Int’l, 432 F. Supp. 3d 448, 453 (D. Del. 2020) (holding defendant estopped from asserting product art where “all the relevant features” of the art were in a printed publication that could have been raised in an IPR).

As Judge Stark notes in Wasica, courts have gone both ways on this, with some estopping arguments based on product art where similar written or patent art could have been raised in an IPR, and others permitting those arguments.

On Friday, Judge Noreika chose a side in this split: no estoppel for prior art products ...

mario-la-pergola-hxCQXj5mB7Y-unsplash
Mario La Pergola, Unsplash

It's easy to fall into the trap of separating rules into "technical" and "substantive" and on that basis to choose which must be followed and which can be safely ignored. Judge Noreika neatly illustrated how foolhardy this practice can be last week, when she issued a brief, two-sentence order denying a summary judgment motion:

WHEREAS, pursuant to the 47 Scheduling Order, a separate concise statement of facts shall be filed with any summary judgment motion; and WHEREAS, Plaintiff did not file such statement with its 194 Motion for Summary Judgment. THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the motion is DENIED for failure to comply with this Court's procedures set forth in the Scheduling Order

Board …

Peace Talks
Markus Winkler, Unsplash

This week, after a series of sealed letters from the parties in Evertz Microsystems Ltd. v. Lawo Inc., C.A. No. 19-302-MN-JLH (D. Del.) apparently indicating settlement is imminent, Judge Noreika issued the following order:

ORAL ORDER . . . Having reviewed the parties' letter stating that they have failed to settle the case and the parties' proposal that they engage in mediation with Judge Andrea L. Rocanelli "in the event settlement cannot be reached by close of business tomorrow," IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the parties' proposal is REJECTED. For weeks, the parties have represented to the Court that settlement is imminent. Trial is set to commence on June 6, 2022 …

Open Gate
Stephen O'Donnell, Unsplash

Yesterday, the Court denied three Daubert motions in a short pretrial order in the lead up to a bench trial in a patent action, citing the Third Circuit's conclusion that Daubert motions in a bench trial may waste judicial time, and also noting that the issues are better addressed the judge in context at trial:

WHEREAS, “[w]hen the role of the gatekeeper to admit or exclude evidence (the judge) and the role of the factfinder to assess and weigh the evidence . . . (the jury) are one and the same, the judge who becomes the factfinder as well as the gatekeeper . . . should not be required to waste judicial time.” In re Unisys, 173 F.3d 145, 155–58 (3d Cir. 1999).
WHEREAS, having reviewed the motions to preclude, the Court has determined that it can better address the issues in context at trial when the Court can hear testimony and better understand the bases for the experts’ opinions;
. . .
THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that
1) the motions to preclude (D.I. 222, 223, 224) are DENIED with leave to renew during trial to the extent appropriate. . . .

The Court also suggested that the parties could present their evidence at trial and then, potentially, ...

"The white one in the middle is representative..." Andrew E. Russell, CC BY 2.0

This week, Judge Noreika denied a § 101 motion because it challenged more than 60 claims, and because the parties disagreed as to whether any claims were representative:

WHEREAS, Plaintiff’s [§ 101] motion does not precisely specify which claims’ eligibility it is challenging . . . , but in any event details challenges to more than sixty claims’ eligibility . . . without any agreement about representativeness . . . ;
WHEREAS, should this case proceed to trial, the asserted claims will be narrowed through the parties’ disclosures and discovery and, as such, most of the claims subject to the Plaintiff’s § 101 motion will not …

Caution Tape
Hiroshi Kimura, Unsplash

A reader helpfully flagged a stipulation denial by Judge Noreika last week (thank you!). The parties had a pretrial conference scheduled for July 18, 2022, and stipulated to move a number of deadlines, including for Daubert briefing. They moved the Daubert motion reply deadline from May 20, 2022 (52 days before the PTC) to June 10, 2022 (38 days before the PTC).

Judge Noreika denied the stipulation without comment. They smartly refiled, but without the Daubert deadline adjustment. This time it went through just fine, albeit with a comment stating that the Daubert deadlines were not moving:

SO ORDERED re 192 STIPULATION TO EXTEND TIME . . . IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Daubert motion/briefing schedule set by D.I. 134 shall NOT be extended ...