Next week, on March 15, 2017, the Federal Circuit Bar Association and the Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago are hosting an Intellectual Property Law Symposium at the University Club of Chicago from 8:45am until 5:00pm. Register here. Speakers include Northern District of Illinois Judges Castillo, Feinerman, Holderman (Ret.), Kendall, and Pallmeyer; as well … Continue Reading
LoggerHead Tools, LLC v. Sears Holding Corp., No. 12 C 9033, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Sep. 20, 2016) (Darrah, J.). Judge Darrah granted in part defendant’s motion for summary judgment of noninfringement and invalidity in this IP case involving plaintiff LoggerHead’s Bionic Wrench. Of particular note, the Court held: The Court denied summary judgment of … Continue Reading
Loggerhead Tools, LLC v. Sears Holdings Corp., No. 12-CV-9033, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Sep. 20, 2016) (Darrah, J.). Judge Darrah granted in part plaintiff Loggerhead’s motion to exclude defendant Apex’s expert’s opinions regarding willfulness and obviousness in this IP case involving the Bionic Wrench. Of note, the Court held as follows: The expert’s testimony on … Continue Reading
Sloan Valve Co. v. Zurn Indus., Inc., No. 10 C 204, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Aug. 23, 2013) (St. Eve, J.). Judge St. Eve granted defendants’ (collectively “Zurn”) Daubert motion in limine to exclude plaintiff Sloan Valve’s “corporate intellectual property practice” expert in this patent infringement case involving flush valves for use in plumbing fixtures. … Continue Reading
Sloan Valve Co. v. Zurn Indus., Inc., No. 10 C 204, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Aug. 12, 2013) (St. Eve, J.). Judge St. Eve granted in part defendants’ (collectively “Zurn”) Daubert motion in limine to exclude plaintiff Sloan Valve’s technical expert in this patent infringement case involving flush valves for use in plumbing fixtures. Zurn … Continue Reading
Ball Aerosol and Specialty Container, Inc. v. Limited Brands, Inc., No. 05 C 3684, 2008 WL 839993 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 27, 2008) (Der-Yeghiayan, J.).
Judge Der-Yeghiayan denied defendants' (collectively "Limited Brands") motion for reconsideration regarding the Court's claim construction opinion and its summary judgment opinions of infringement, validity and damages - click here to read more about those opinions in the Blog's archives. The Court previously construed the claims of plaintiff Ball Aerosol's ("BASC") patent covers a candle tine. The Court granted BASC summary judgment of infringement and validity, pre-KSR. When KSR revised the obviousness standard, the Court sua sponte ordered supplemental briefing regarding obviousness in light of KSR. Based upon that briefing, the Court again granted summary judgment of validity. The Court then granted BASC summary judgment on damages awarding it 20% royalties and finding Limited Brand's infringement willful.
The Court held that its original claim construction, validity and infringement holdings were correct and that Limited Brands had been given ample opportunities to defend itself. The Court also denied Limited Brands' argument that reasonable royalties could not be decided on summary judgment. Limited Brands' Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial regarding damages had not been violated. There is no right to a jury without a material question of fact.
The Court also held that while its initial grant of summary judgment of willfulness was made before the Federal Circuits' decision In Re Seagate, the undisputed facts also warranted summary judgment of willfulness pursuant to Seagate's objective recklessness standard. Limited Brands was aware of BASC's patent both before the suit was filed and before it began making the infringing candle tin. In fact, Limited Brands had extensive discussions with BASC regarding BASC's specifications for candle tins. Furthermore, Limited Brand's main defense - advice of counsel - was negated because Limited Brands did not disclose its opinion by the Court's deadline for doing so.
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Se-Kure Controls, Inc. v. Diam USA, Inc., No. 06 C 4857, 2008 WL 169029 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 17, 2008) (Cox, Mag. J.).*
Judge Cox granted in part a motion to compel discovery regarding defendant's advice of counsel defense. The Court ordered defendants to product a technical witness that provided opinion counsel information because opinion counsel was unable to remember the substance of conversations between the two.
The Court also ordered production of communications between opinion counsel and trial counsel related to the patent in suit. These communications were within the scope of defendant's waiver, even though a deposition of trial counsel would not have been allowed.
The Court did not allow plaintiff to take any additional fact depositions. Plaintiff argued it had waited to take certain fact depositions because the witnesses were expected to be Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(b)(6) designers regarding defendants' willfulness defense. But the Court did not allow the deposition because fact discovery was closed and because plaintiff had deposed other witnesses on the same topics.
The most exciting part of this opinion, however, was its form, not its substance - Judge Cox used footnotes for cites. While this format is infinitely more readable and has many prominent advocates - Brian Garner, Ken Adams, me (perhaps not the most prominent but I am an advocate of footnote citation) - it is a bold move in the typically conservative realm of judicial writing. At least one other Northern District Judge, Chief Judge Holderman, has used footnote citation. If you are aware of other examples, let me know.
Thank you Judge Cox.
* Click here for more on this case and related cases in the Blog's archives.
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Abbott Labs. v. Sandoz, Inc., No. 05 C 5373, 2007 WL 4287503 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 4, 2007) (Coar, J.).*
Judge Coar granted defendant Sandoz's Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss or in the alternative Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings, dismissing plaintiff Abbott's willfulness claims Abbott alleged that Sandoz willfully infringed Abbott's patent related to an extended release antibiotic (clarithromycin, an erythromycin derivative which Abbott markets as Biaxin XL). At the time Sandoz entered the market with its generic version of Biaxin XL, the Federal Circuit had issued an opinion based upon an interlocutory appeal of a temporary restraining order, which included statements that Abbott's patent was susceptible to invalidity and unenforceability argument. The Court held that Sandoz's reliance on that opinion, regardless of the limited record it was based upon or its non-final nature was objectively reasonable, well above the In re Seagate objective recklessness standard.
* Click here for more on this case and related cases.
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II have not been able to fulfill my promised additional coverage of the inequitable conduct portion of the Trading Technologies v. eSpeed case, but it is not my fault.* The Court decided to consider eSpeed's inequitable conduct and patent misuse defenses on the papers. The Court ordered a briefing schedule that will complete briefing by early December for eSpeed's inequitable conduct and patent misuse defenses , as well as eSpeed's post-trial motions regarding willfulness and damages remittitur and TT's motions for its attorneys' fees and costs. The Court has scheduled a status conference for December 20th. Perhaps the parties will have rulings by the end of the year.
Practice tip: In my experience, one of the dangers of doing inequitable conduct after the conclusion of the jury trial is that both the Court and the parties are exhausted and emotionally drained at the end of the jury trial (particularly after a multi-week trial like this one). So, when it is time to try inequitable conduct, either the Court no longer wants the trial or the parties and the Court are so exhausted that they have trouble keeping their focus and energy level where it was for the jury trial despite the importance of the issues. I do not know why the parties or the Court decided that inequitable conduct should be decided on the papers in this case. But any time that inequitable conduct is to be tried after a jury trial, you run the risk that no live evidence will come in on inequitable conduct.
* Click here to read much more about this case and Trading Technologies' ("TT") related cases in the Blog's archives
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I have already posted on the verdict generally, but the jury's completed verdict form is now available and provides some more detailed information -- click here for a copy. The jury found infringement, either literal, contributory or induced, for every accused product on every asserted claim. The $3.5M damages award was split $1.5M against eSpeed and $2M against Ecco. And both eSpeed and Ecco were found to have willfully infringed the patents.
Additionally, click here for the final jury instructions. Of particular interest, the willfulness instruction, at page 35, is likely one of the first that used the new objective recklessness standard from In re Seagate.
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As I posted yesterday afternoon, the jury came back for Trading Technologies ("TT"). The jury found that eSpeed willfully infringed TT's patents for a six month period in 2004, found the patents valid and awarded $3.5M in damages. The parties have not completed their bench trial on inequitable conduct. So, the Court may still hold the patents invalid based upon inequitable conduct, which would render the $3.5M damages award moot. But unless and until that happens, the award stands and has the potential to be as much as trebled based upon the willfulness finding.
There has been some press coverage already. Here is some of the best:
Crain's Chicago Business
Wall Street Journal (subscription required)
Ad Hoc News
CNN Money (AP story)
You can read much more about this case and its related cases in the Blog's archives by clicking here.
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Trading Techs. Int'l., Inc. v. eSpeed, Inc., No 04 C 5312, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Aug. 20, 2007) (Moran, Sen. J.).*
Judge Moran denied defendant eSpeed, Inc.'s ("eSpeed") renewed motion to bifurcate willfulness and damages from the liability phase of the trial. The Court denied eSpeed's original bifurcation motion. The Court noted that since the initial motion, the Court had issued claim constructions largely favorable to eSpeed and summary judgment of noninfringement as to the majority of eSpeed's accused products. But the Court had also denied eSpeed's motions for summary judgment of invalidity, leaving invalidity to be resolved by the jury. The Court reasoned that the Real v. Bunn-O-Matic, 195 F.R.D. 618 (N.D. Ill. 2000) factors weighed in favor of not bifurcating the trial or were neutral. The Court's summary judgment of noninfringement rulings severely limited the damages case and "significantly simplified" the infringement issues.
The Court also held that eSpeed would not be prejudiced because of a Quantum dilemma. The Court explained that the Quantum dilemma -- created when a defendant had to choose between maintaining privilege and defending itself against willfulness allegations by producing an opinion letter -- was substantially limited by the Federal Circuit's Knorr-Bremse Sys. v. Dana Corp., 383 F.3d 1337 (Fed. Cir. 2004) decision eliminating the adverse inference where defendant did not obtain or produce an opinion of counsel. The Court also noted that any potentially prejudicing evidence at trial could be cured with a limiting instruction.
Trial is set to start in this case the week of September 10. Between now and then expect to see several more opinions (including another this week on a bifurcation issue) in this case and its related cases. 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.
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Black & Decker Inc. v. Robert Bosch Tool Corp., No. 04 C 7955, 2006 WL 3783006 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 22, 2006) (St. Eve, J.). Having already denied plaintiff summary judgment on defendant’s inequitable conduct defense (here) and increased damages 50% and awarded prejudgment interest compounded monthly (here), the Court denied defendant’s motions for judgment as a … Continue Reading