A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware


Patent
Patent

Science!
Hans Reniers, Unsplash

On Friday, Judge Andrews issued an opinion adopting a Special Master opinion, which held that certain pre-litigation testing documents were not covered by attorney privilege.

Pre-Litigation Testing Not Protected by Attorney-Client Privilege If Not Provided to Attorneys

The Court found that the pre-litigation scientific testing was not covered by attorney-client privilege, even though they may have been done "at the direction of" a law firm, because the core purpose was for the client's understanding rather than for facilitating legal advice:

I do not think [plaintiff] First Quality has shown that the attorney-client privilege applies to any of the [relevant] disputed . . . documents. Plaintiff's position is that everything [the expert] Dr. Malburg did falls "well …

March of the Trolls
Paulo O, CC BY 2.0

Continuing our theme, another subject that often comes up in defending NPE complaints is whether the NPE's often-lackluster complaint may be vulnerable to an FRCP 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss (and whether that motion can be brought economically).

Judge Connolly today dismissed a complaint by Swirlate IP, an (alleged) IP Edge entity, because the complaint mostly parroted the language of the claims and offered an unspecific website URL.

Here is an example of a typical paragraph from the complaint, which mirrors the claim language but also offers slightly more:

21. Upon information and belief, the Accused Instrumentality performs the step of performing the second transmission by transmitting the second data symbols over a …

"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 …

Yesterday, visiting Judge Bataillon excluded a patentee's expert opinion where the expert tried to use the doctrine of equivalents to skirt the Court's construction of a term.

The Court had initially rejected a preliminary injunction motion by the patentee, holding that it had failed to show a likelihood of success on infringement based on its proposed claim construction.

The patentee then proposed the same construction during claim construction before the magistrate judge, who issued an R&R rejecting it.

The patentee then objected to the R&R, but the Court adopted the construction in the R&R and again rejected the patentee's proposed construction.

Specifically, the Court held that the claims required two elements that each have a different thickness and composition: …

Fire. I couldn't find an image of raining brimstone.
Fire. I couldn't find an image of raining brimstone. Ricardo Gomez Angel, Unsplash

On Monday, Judge Noreika sanctioned a patentee plaintiff for not following the protective order regarding source code.

Here is what the plaintiff did:

Plaintiff violated the Protective Order at least six times over a period of almost one year by: 1) creating an electronic copy of the source code on July 6, 2020; 2) sending that electronic copy to a vendor that had not signed the Acknowledgement and Agreement to Be Bound by Stipulated Protective Order (which actually violated two provisions of the Protective Order); 3) failing to maintain a log of all copies; 4) storing an electronic and apparently unencrypted copy of the source code …

Ridesharing
Brecht Denil, Unsplash

Magistrate Judge Hall issued a § 101 R&R today in Rideshare Displays, Inc. v. Lyft, Inc., C.A. No. 20-1629-RGA-JLH (D. Del.), recommending denial of defendant Lyft's motion to dismiss based on § 101.

The Court found that the patent was not directed to an abstract idea—though it noted that it was a close call—and that, regardless, the invention contained an inventive concept under Step 2 of Alice.

We've all read about dozens (or more) of § 101 opinions over the last few years, but here are a few points of interest from Judge Hall's opinion:

  • Judge Hall closely examined the representativeness of the alleged representative claim, and rejected it as unrepresentative. Choose …

Annual Report 2021
District of Delaware

The Delaware FBA held its annual meeting virtually today. It included really wonderful speeches by the judges, passing along the Chief Judge gavel in both the district court and the bankruptcy court.

The FBA also did a great job presenting the event via Zoom (did anyone else clap while sitting alone in their offices, or was it just me?!).

I won’t try to summarize everything that was said, consistent with our ongoing attempts—and failures—to keep our posts short. But here are some quick highlights that may be particularly relevant to IP/DE readers:

  • Chief Judge Stark passed the gavel of Chief Judge to Judge Connolly, who will be new Chief Judge following the end of Judge Stark’s term …

Secret
"SECRET" stamp, RestrictedData, CC BY 2.0

The parties in Progressive Sterilization, LLC v. Turbett Surgical LLC, C.A. No. 19-637 (D. Del.) brought a dispute about "excessive" redactions to certain production in their patent action.

The defendant sought information from third parties who were under contract with the plaintiff, including various consultants and a former business partner.

Plaintiff apparently has confidentiality agreements with these people, and tried to filter their document production in the case, redacting information it thought should not be produced to the defendant. According to defendant's letter brief:

[Plaintiff] insisted on reviewing [the] third-party subpoena recipients’ responsive documents and redacting certain non-privileged content . . . prior to their production to Defendants

According …

Pills
HalGatewood.com, Unsplash

Judge Hall today issued an R&R on attorneys fees in In Re Kerydin (Tavaborole) Topical Solution 5% Patent Litigation, MDL No. 19-md-2884-RGA (D. Del. June 23, 2021), an ANDA case.

There, the plaintiff filed suit on four patents even though the PTAB had previously found an earlier patent in the family invalid in an IPR, and even though IPRs were pending on each of the four patents-in-suit.

Filing suit triggered the 30-month stay of FDA approval. Shortly after the suit was filed, one of the defendants moved to stay; plaintiff did not oppose, and actually filed a cross-motion to stay its own action against the other defendants (who opposed).

The Court granted the …

Last month we wrote about Judge Andrews' order that a plaintiff who won a default judgment against Aston Martin, LLC must file any settlement agreements from seven other patent suits, in order to help the Court determine the proper damages award.

Plaintiff has now responded.

We wondered in our last post whether the Court would permit plaintiff to file under seal. The answer is yes: the Court found the following short paragraph from the briefing to be sufficient to permit filing the settlement agreements and settlement amounts under seal:

Good cause exists to seal these Settlement and License Agreements. The Agreements contain confidentiality clauses such that if the documents were not filed under seal, Plaintiff might be in breach …