A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware


MN
The Honorable Maryellen Noreika

Attorneys at Table
AI-Generated, displayed with permission

This is an interesting order from earlier this month that we never had a chance to post about.

In Ecobee, Inc. v. EcoFactor, Inc., C.A. No. 21-323-MN (D. Del.), the parties had a Markman hearing scheduled for December 8. As she often does, in the leadup to the hearing, Judge Noreika issued an order directing lead counsel for the parties to meet-and-confer to reduce the number of disputes:

ORAL ORDER . . . IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that, on or before 12/1/2022, local and lead counsel (i.e., those attorneys that will be leading trial) for the parties shall meet and confer and file an amended joint claim construction chart that sets forth the …

Artist's depiction of the <a href='#' class='abbreviation' data-bs-toggle='tooltip' data-placement='top' title='Jumara v. State Farm Ins. Co., 55 F.3d 873 (3d Cir. 1995)'>Jumara</a> factors in action
Artist's depiction of the Jumara factors in action Nick Fewings, Unsplash

Yesterday, Judge Noreika transferred a trademark, false advertising, false designation of origin, and unfair competition case to the Northern District of Illinois. See Rockwell Automation, Inc. v. EU Automation, Inc., C.A. No. 21-1162-MN (D. Del. Oct. 27, 2022).

This is interesting because, to my knowledge, Judge Noreika has transferred few if any patent cases out of the District of Delaware—including when both parties are have strong ties to the transferee forum.

I thought it would be interesting to see how the Jumara factors played out in this trademark case compared to …

zdenek-machacek-uB9TMm7R0So-unsplash
Zdeněk Macháček, Unsplash

Disqualification motions are tough. In the last 10 years, I count 2 successful motions in Delaware patent cases and 10 losers (although the counting is more complicated than usual as the issue tends to involve an inordinately large number of objections and requests for reargument, and often springs up again as the case evolves).

Still, one can learn things even from a failed attempt. Harbour Antibodies BV v. Teneobio, Inc., C.A. No. 21-1807-MN, for instance, gives us some insight into an issue that I'm surprised doesn't come up more often in this world of multinational megacorps and ultrafirms.

The plaintiff, Harbour, was a plucky little biotech startup that represented by the less little DLA Piper. DLA …

Andrew is better at this A.I. thing, mine still appear monstrous
A.I. Generated, displayed with permission

Every protective order I've ever seen has a provision at the end requiring the parties to return or (more likely) destroy any confidential information (with some limited exceptions) from the other party when the case is over. It's generally not a contentious paragraph.

Judge Fallon, however, dealt with a discovery dispute on this issue, that I was surprised had never come up before -- what happens when there are multiple unrelated defendants, as in ANDA cases? Do you destroy the documents when the relevant defendant drops out of the case, or can you keep them until the whole consolidated mess is over and done with?

Per Judge Fallon, the answer is you get to …

Lawyer Objecting
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At the jury trial in ArcherDX, LLC v. Qiagen Sciences, LLC, C.A. No. 19-1019-MN (D. Del.), the plaintiffs argued for $752,006 in U.S. royalties, and the jury awarded $1,593,762.

The higher number happened to exactly match the $752,006 they asked for for U.S. royalties, plus the lost profits number:

The $1,593,762 U.S. royalty award, however, is much higher than the estimate provided by Plaintiffs’ expert, and, in fact is equivalent to the expert’s suggested award for lost profits ($841,756) plus U.S. royalties ($752,006).

The parties both agreed that it was a mistake, and that the jury had intended to award the $752,006 that plaintiffs had asked for.

Plaintiffs, however, refused to give …

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 ...