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.
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.
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.