Ho v. Taflove, No. 07 C 4305, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Apr. 9, 2010 (Bucklo, J.)
Judge Bucklo denied plaintiffs’ motion for reconsideration of the Court’s order granting defendants summary judgment as to plaintiffs’ Copyrights, Lanham Act and related state law claims in this dispute over whether defendants took plaintiffs’ mathematical model (the “Model”). As an initial matter, the Court noted that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not provide for “motions to reconsider.” Rather, parties file either a Rule 59(e) motion to alter or amend judgment (within 28 days of the judgment) or a Rule 60(b) motion for relief from judgment (within a "reasonable time”). The substance of the motion determines whether it is heard pursuant to Rule 59(e) or Rule 60(b). Plaintiffs’ motion was brought pursuant to Rule 60(b), but the Court treated it as a Rule 59(e) motion because it sought to alter the judgment, not for relief from it.
A Rule 59(e) motion requires newly discovered evidence or manifest errors of law. Plaintiffs’ motion as to their state law conversion, copyright and Lanham Act claims relied upon additional facts that were available during the initial briefing, but not raised at that time. The Court, therefore, did not consider the evidence and the plaintiffs’ arguments were denied.
As to the Court’s decision that the Model was not copyrightable as a mathematical formula pursuant to §102(b) of the Copyright Act, plaintiffs provided no convincing authority showing that it was copyrightable. And plaintiffs provided not even a single example of an alternate expression of the Model to satisfy the merger doctrine.