On Thursday, April 11 at Loyola University Law School, the Loyola University Chicago Law Journal is putting on a program called: Patents, Innovation & Freedom to Use Ideas. Click here for the program brochure. The program has an interesting mix of theoretical and practical discussions. Among the more interesting topics are:
- Chief Judge Holderman discussing Innovations to Improve Juror Understanding in Patent Trials
- Emory University’s Professor Timothy Holbrook (a former Chicagoan), Boston University’s Professor Michael Mueur (who has written interesting articles regarding the costs of NPE suits); and University of San Diego Professor Ted Sichelman discussing Shortcomings in the Patent System.
This looks like an excellent program.
Autotech Techs. Ltd. Partnership v. Automationdirect.com, Inc. 237 F.RD. 405 (N.D. Ill. 2006). (Cole, Mag. J.).
In this impressively detailed opinion, Magistrate Judge Cole grants defendant’s motion for a protective order limiting plaintiff’s in-house counsel’s access to sensitive customer information and communications. The parties faced a common problem, they had agreed that customer information, including customer identities and communications, would be limited to attorneys’ eyes only, but could not agree as to whether plaintiff’s in-house counsel could access the information. Plaintiff argued that its in-house counsel played a lead role in the case and, therefore, required access to the information. Defendant argued that in-house counsel were corporate decision makers, in addition to counselors, and would not be able to separate the knowledge of defendant’s customers they would be exposed to when performing business-related functions.
Cummins-Allison Corp. v. Glory Ltd., __ F.Supp.2d __, 2006 WL 2931999 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 13, 2006) (Kendall, J.).
Judge Kendall performed a very thorough claim construction in this opinion, but what is most interesting about it is the procedural history. The Court (with another judge presiding) initially construed the claims at issue in March 2005, without holding a Markman hearing. Plaintiff then sought reconsideration regarding one of the patents at issue and defendant sought reconsideration regarding the other. The Court ultimately granted both motions and held a Markman hearing, which is the basis of this opinion.