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Chicago IP Litigation Tracking Northern District of Illinois IP Cases

Tag Archives: invalidity

Local Patent Rules: Party Limited to Arguments Made in Final Contentions

Posted in Summary Judgment

Fujitsu Ltd. v. Tellabs, Inc., No. 09 C 4530, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Sept. 26, 2012) (Holderman, C.J.).

Chief Judge Holderman granted defendant Tellabs’ motion for summary judgment of invalidity in this patent case.  As an initial matter, the Court held that Tellabs was limited to the arguments set forth in its Local Patent Rule 3.1 final invalidity contentions.  The Court, therefore, disregarded Tellabs’ anticipation arguments, which were not in the final contentions, and focused upon the obviousness arguments, which were in the final contentions.

The Court held that the asserted prior art was a printed publication because of undisputed testimony that the article was presented at a standards setting meeting and that at the meeting 25 copies of the article were distributed without restriction.  The Court acknowledged that Tellabs had not provided any evidence of an individual that actually received one of the reports.  But it was enough that Tellabs had provided “substantial” circumstantial evidence corroborating its testimony.  For example, subsequent articles written by third parties referenced the prior art paper. 

Finally, the Court considered the obviousness arguments.  Fujitsu failed o challenge Tellabs four page obviousness arguments, except to argue that the prior art reference was not enabling.  However, the Court held that a prior art need not be enabling, it simply must teach the elements of the claims in suit. 

Local Patent Rules Do Not Trump Rule 8 Pleading Requirements

Posted in Pleading Requirements

Groupon Inc. v. MobGob LLC, No. 10 C 7456, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. May 25, 2011) (Hibbler, Sen. J.).

Judge Hibbler granted plaintiff Groupon’s motion to strike defendant MobGob’s affirmative defenses and to dismiss MobGob’s counterclaims, and denied MobGob’s motion to dismiss Groupon’s claim in this patent dispute involving online marketing systems.

MobGob’s Motion to Dismiss

Groupon pled the intent elements of its indirect infringement claims upon information and belief. And that pleading was sufficient even though intent is governed by Fed. R. Civ. P. 9(b) because even pursuant to Rule 9(b), intent and knowledge can be pled generally. Additionally, it was reasonable to infer from Groupon’s allegations that MobGob created or had someone create the accused system and the public nature of Groupon’s patent that MobGob had actually knowledge of its accused infringement.

Groupon’s Motions to Strike and Dismiss

First, Groupon sought to strike MobGob’s affirmative defense of invalidity. The Court initially noted that motions to strike are disfavored because they are unlikely to streamline a case or make resolving the case more efficient. But the Court still struck MobGob’s invalidity defense. MobGob’s invalidity defense did nothing more than identify the relevant statutory sections, offering not a single fact, upon information and belief or otherwise. While the Court noted there were some policy reasons for not holding affirmative defenses and counterclaims to the Twombly/Iqbal standards, the Seventh Circuit required that they be met for any pleading. The Court, therefore, struck MobGob’s invalidity defense. And for the same reason, the Court dismissed MobGob’s invalidity counterclaim because it also offered no facts. The Court also noted that it would not excuse inadequate pleading because of the Local Patent Rule 2.3(b) invalidity contentions that MobGob would be required to serve shortly after answering. The LPR 2.3(b) disclosures require significantly more detail than Fed. R. Civ. P. 8 notice pleading. So, MobGob could meet its Rule 8 obligations without providing the level of detail required by LPR 2.3(b).

The Court also struck MobGob’s affirmative defense regarding ownership of Groupon’s patent because it also lacked factual support, and because it did not accept Groupon’s facts as true, as required by an affirmative defense, instead challenging Groupon’s facts.

Accused Infringer Need Not Test Prior Art Patented Products to Prove Invalidity

Posted in Summary Judgment

Viskase Cos., Inc. v. World Pac Int’l AG, No. 09 C 5022, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Feb. 3, 2011) (Bucklo, J.).

Judge Bucklo granted declaratory judgment plaintiff Viskase’s motion for summary judgment of invalidity and denied the remaining cross-summary judgment motions as moot in this patent dispute involving food casings that prevent the loss of weight, flavor and taste. The Court previously construed "impermeable" to mean that the casing did not allow any measurable loss of weight, flavor or moisture. Instead of addressing each of Viskase’s arguments element-by-element, declaratory judgment defendant World Pac put "all of its eggs in one basket." The Court denied World Pac’s earlier summary judgment motion regarding infringement largely because of World Pac’s failure to test the alleged impermeability of Viskase’s accused products. World Pac, therefore, argued that because Viskase had not tested sausages covered by the prior art patent, it could not succeed.

But the Court explained that "what is good for the goose is not always good for the gander." The Court held that there was no authority requiring that a party test alleged anticipatory prior art patents to prove that they read on the asserted patent. While there was some appeal to World Pac’s argument, it was unsuccessful. An accused infringer is not required to test prior art products. Furthermore, World Pac’s own expert had conceded that the relevant claim elements of the patent-in-suit were disclosed in the prior art patent.

Court Denies Summary Judgment in Favor of Bench Trial

Posted in Summary Judgment

Bone Care, Int’l v. Pen Tech Pharm., No. 08 C 1083, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Mar. 30, 2011) (Dow, J.).

Judge Dow denied defendants’ (collectively "Pentech") motion for summary judgment of invalidity for lack of enablement and written description. The Court also denied plaintiff Bone Care International’s cross-motion for summary judgment that the patent-in-suit was enabled by its specification, in this patent case involving methods of treating hyperparathyroidism that is secondary to end-stage renal disease. The parties finished briefing their cross-motions weeks before a bench trial began, including the issues in the motion. And by the time of the opinion, the parties had filed extensive post-trial briefing — the Court allowed briefs up to 280 pages in length. As such and in light of its coming opinion ruling on all factual issues, the Court did not provide a detailed analysis of its reasoning. Instead, it focused on one of the most common hurdles to summary judgment, the battle of the experts. The parties’ experts set forth competing views of the facts and circumstances on the case. Because both parties relied upon those experts to make their cases, summary judgment was not proper.

The Court, however, did commit to resolve the issues as part of its written trial decision.

Lack of Documentation Regarding Use at the Relevant Time Prevents Summary Judgment

Posted in Summary Judgment

Eazypower Corp. v. Jore Corp., No. 04 C 6372, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Oct. 20, 2010) (Zagel, J.).

Judge Zagel denied defendant Jore’s ("Jore") motion for summary judgment of invalidity in this patent dispute regarding screwdrivers with flexible extension shafts. As a preliminary matter, plaintiff Eazypower repeatedly failed to comply with Local Rule 56.1 regarding statements of material fact. Despite that, the Court accepted Eazypower’s additional facts and responses to Jore’s statements of fact because Jore had sufficient opportunity to respond to them.

Jore argued that a particular screwdriver with a flexible extension shaft, the FB-19, was sold in the United States in the mid-1980s and was invalidating prior art. Eazypower did not dispute that the FB-19 taught each element of the identified patent claims. But Eazypower did dispute that the FB-19 was in fact prior art. First, Eazypower argued that Jore had not sufficiently corroborated its evidence that the FB-19 was sold in the United States in the mid-1980s. Jore’s corroborating evidence – several third parties with knowledge – was sufficient. But there was evidence conflicting with Jore’s position. An age analysis of the FB-19 packaging suggested that it had been built in the late 1970s or early 1980s, but it also showed traces of an adhesive that was not available in the mid-1980s. Additionally, Eazypower showed that relevant shipping records for the period did not show any sales or import of FB-19s. The Court, therefore, held that there was a question of material fact and denied summary judgment.

Trading Technologies v. eSpeed: Minute Orders

Posted in Trial

Trading Techs. Int’l, Inc. v. eSpeed, Inc., No. 04 C 5312, Min. Orders (N.D. Ill. Jan. 3, 2007) (Moran, Sen. J.).*

In addition to the willfulness decision discussed earlier today (click here for the post) and the invalidity decision that I will blog about early next week, Judge Moran also issued two minute orders deciding several of the outstanding post-trial motions.  The Court denied defendant eSpeed’s motion for a new trial and its combined motion for judgment as a matter of law that: 1) the claims are invalid because of anticipation, obviousness, prior sale; and 2) because the claims have a June 9, 2000 priority date they were not infringed.

There are still several pending motions, including various motions regarding damages and interest on the jury’s award and eSpeed’s motion for an evidentiary hearing regarding inequitable conduct.  I will keep you posted as those are decided.

Click here to read much more about this case in the Blog’s archives.

Missed Deadline Prevents Invalidity SJ Motion, But Defendant May Argue it at Trial

Posted in Trial

Trading Techs. Int’l., Inc. v. eSpeed, Inc., No 04 C 5312, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Aug. 27, 2007) (Moran, Sen. J.).*

Judge Moran denied plaintiff Trading Technologies’ (“TT”) motion to preclude defendant eSpeed from arguing its prior sale defense at trial. In a previous Order, the Court struck eSpeed’s summary judgment motion regarding its prior sale defense because it was filed after a case deadline. The Court stated eSpeed could use its “full arsenal of defenses” with the jury.

Trial is set to start in this case the week of September 10. Between now and then expect to see several more opinions in this case and its related cases (there are two weighty summary judgment opinions still in my queue, as well as several other smaller opinions and orders). Additionally, I have some other obligations that week, but am planning to blog some of the trial. Stay tuned.

*You can download this opinion here and you can read much more about this case and related cases in the Blog’s archives.

Notice Pleading Does Not Require Correct Claim Name

Posted in Pleading Requirements

UTStarcom, Inc. v. Starent Networks, Corp., No. 07 C 2582, Min. Order (N.D. Ill. Aug. 16, 2007) (Lindberg, J.).

Judge Lindberg denied defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiff’s state law claims and its claim seeking assignment of defendants’ patents to plaintiffs.  The Court held that the claim seeking assignment of defendants patents to plaintiff was an invalidity contention.  Plaintiff claimed that it had invented defendants’ patented inventions before defendants.  While plaintiff did not use the correct terms, it met the notice pleading standards.  Additionally, plaintiff’s state law trade secret and tortious interference claims were sufficiently related to the patent claims to come within the Court’s supplemental jurisdiction.

The Court refused to consider plaintiff’s requests for additional discovery  because it was made orally in court and in plaintiff’s responsive pleading, but never as a written motion as required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 7(b)(1).

Deliberate Vagueness and a “Somewhat Misleading” Motion Warrant Denial of the Motion, But Not Dismissal

Posted in Summary Judgment

Rosenthal Collins Group, LLC v. Trading Techs. Int’l, Inc., No. 05 C 4088, 2007 WL 844610 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 14, 2007) (Moran, Sen. J.).*

Judge Moran denied in part and granted in part declaratory judgment defendant Trading Technologies’ ("TT") Rule 37 motion for sanctions.  The Court held that declaratory judgment plaintiff Rosenthal Collins Group’s ("RCG") motion for summary judgment of invalidity was "somewhat misleading" and possibly "disingenuous," but refused to dismiss the case.  Instead the Court struck the declaration underlying RCG’s motion, denied RCG’s summary judgment motion with leave to refile a motion "supported by proper evidence" and awarded TT its costs and attorneys fees associated with the Rule 37 motion, as well as its software expert’s fees.  RCG filed a summary judgment motion arguing that TT’s patents covering "double click" methods for executing an electronic trade were anticipated by the alleged prior art system "Wit DSM" as embodied in a software package RCG presented to the Court and TT on a laptop and claimed was essentially the software as it is existed more than one year prior to TT’s patent filing.  TT’s software expert identified that several lines of code had been added to the software by RCG’s declarant, and that the added code performed certain functionalities required for anticipation.  When RCG’s declarant was deposed, he stated that he had not written the "double click" portion of the original code and could not be sure that it was in the alleged prior art version of the WIT DSM.  These facts did not warrant dismissal of the case or barring of any evidence because RCG and its declarant had not made any false statements, although they had made deliberately vague statements.  Furthermore, while RCG did not identify that the software package included added code which the Court found disturbing, it did include a comparison program on the laptop it provided to TT and the Court which would have identified the added code.

This case involves the several of the same patents as the other TT case before Judge Moran.

Jury’s Anticipation and Obviousness Determinations Are Not Supported By Legally Sufficeint Evidence

Posted in Trial

Black & Decker Inc. v. Robert Bosch Tool Corp., No. 04 C 7955, 2006 WL 3883286 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 18, 2006) (St. Eve, J.).*

Judge St. Eve granted judgment as a matter of law for plaintiff, holding that the jury’s findings of invalidity and obviousness were not supported by legally sufficient evidence.  At trial, defendant introduced an article describing a prior art radio as 102(b) prior art using its expert.  But the expert testified that one of the claim elements was missing.  Defendant argued that pictures of the radio that were not used in the article, showed the device.  But the Court held that defendant could not piece together the article, testimony and pictures to prove that the article disclosed all elements of the claimed invention.  The jury’s obviousness finding was not supported by legally sufficient evidence because defendant did not present clear and convincing evidence of a motivation to combine its obviousness prior art references.

* You can find much more on this case in the Blog’s archives.

The Power of Expert Testimony

Posted in Experts

Konvin Assocs. V. Extech/Exterior Techs., No. 04 C 2544, 2006 WL 2460589 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 21, 2006) (Kennelly, J.).

In this opinion, Judge Kennelly ruled on opposing summary judgment motions arguing invalidity and infringement issues.  As an initial matter, the Court refused to exclude opposing expert affidavits despite the fact that neither expert was disclosed as required by Rule 26(a)(2)(A).  The Court held that Rule 37(c) does not allow striking evidence based upon Rule 26(a) violations where the violation is harmless.  Because neither party argued that they were harmed by the failure to disclose the experts, the Court refused to exclude the expert affidavits.  The Court went on to deal with numerous invalidity and infringement issues, but I will focus on one more expert testimony issue.

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