The TicketRESERVE, Inc. v. Viagogo, Inc., No. 08 C 5202, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Nov. 19, 2008) (Shadur, Sen. J.).*
Judge Shadur ordered that plaintiff’s amended complaint was entered without need for plaintiff’s motion for leave to file the amended complaint. While defendant Yoonew had already answered the complaint, the amendment added a party that appeared related to defendant Viagogo, which had filed a motion to dismiss instead of answering. The Court held that plaintiff’s Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(1)(A) absolute right to amend its complaint before it is answered was not destroyed as to a particular defendant until that defendant answers. So, plaintiff was free to amend any claims made against Viagogo until Viagogo answered, but presumably would have to seek leave to amend should the amendments impact defendant Yoonew.
* This case is assigned to Judge Moran, but during Judge Moran’s absence from the bench Judge Shadur has taken over his docket.

Continue Reading Co-Defendant’s Answer Does Not Destroy Plaintiff’s Right to Amend Complaint as to Non-Answering Defendants

The Seventh Circuit instituted a Commission to study the implementation of the ABA Jury Project. The Northern District was heavily represented on the Commission. The following Northern District Judges were members of the Commission: Bucklo, Brown, Coar, Darrah, Denlow, Der-Yeghiayan, Gottschall, Holderman, Kennelly, Lefkow, Moran, Schenkier, St. Eve, and Zagel. The Commission recently published its report — click here to read it. The report describes a two phase analysis. In the first phase, district judges tested the following seven ABA Principles:
1. Twelve-Person Juries;
2. Jury Selection Questionnaires;
3. Preliminary Substantive Jury Instructions;
4. Trial Time Limits;
5. Juror Questions;
6. Interim Trial Statements by Counsel; and
7. Enhanced Jury Deliberations.
Other Principles, such as juror notebooks and allowing jurors to take notes, were already in such widespread use that they were not tested. Click here for the Phase One Project manual detailing the principles, the rationales and authority behind them, and suggested procedures. Phase One resulted in questionnaires from 22 participating federal trial judges, 74 participating attorneys and 303 jurors from 38 trials that used one or more of the seven Principles. Based upon the analysis of Phase One results and questionnaires, the Commission focused Phase Two on the following four Principles:
1. Juror Questions;
2. Interim Trial Statements by Counsel;
3. Twelve-Person Juries; and
4. Preliminary Substantive Jury Instructions.
These Principles were chosen because of Phase One popularity (78% of jurors reported that being able to ask questions increased their satisfaction with the process) and because of a desire to study the Principles more. Click here for the Phase Two manual.
In Phase Two, 108 jurors from 12 trials employing one or more of the Phase Two Principles filled out questionnaires. In addition, 12 attorneys and 4 district judges that participated also filled out questionnaires. The results are interesting, but more importantly create the opportunity to powerfully impact the trial system across the Seventh Circuit in ways that benefit all of the stakeholders in the trial process — the litigants, the jurors, the judge and the judge’s chambers, and the litigators.
All four of the Phase Two Principles showed significant benefits to the trial process. 83% of jurors reported an increased understanding of the facts when allowed to ask written questions through a judge — the questions were reworded to meet evidentiary rules. And 75% of judges and 65% of attorneys thought the questions benefited jurors. Similarly, preliminary substantive jury instructions were found to improve trials by jurors (80%), judges (85%) and attorneys (70%). And the same was true for interim statements to the jury — jurors (80%) and judges (85%). Finally, twelve-person juries were found not to harm efficiency, while increasing juror diversity.
Each of the four Phase Two Principles, as well as several of the additional three Phase One Principles deserve more attention and analysis. So, over the next several weeks I will provide follow up posts discussing the findings of those Principles in greater detail. I will start with the idea of juror questions, which I find particularly important, later this week or early next.

Continue Reading Seventh Circuit American Jury Project

Baldwin Graphic Sys., Inc. v. Siebert, Inc., No. 03 C 7718, 2008 WL 4083145 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 27, 2008) (Moran, Sen. J.)*
Judge Moran granted defendant’s summary judgment of invalidity as to plaintiff’s patented technology for cleaning printing press components. The Court previously granted defendants summary judgment of noninfringement on a reissued patent and the patent at issue in this opinion, but the Federal Circuit reversed as to the patent at issue after revising the Court’s claim construction – click here for more on this case in the Blog’s archives.
After holding that each element of the claims were taught by various pieces of prior art, the Court considered whether the art could be combined pursuant to the Supreme Court’s KSR standard. The Court held that the creation of strict new industry standards and a finite number of solutions that met the standards created jurisdiction for combining the prior art references:
The introduction of strict regulations regarding the use of high VOC solvents was an outside impetus to begin using low VOC solvents to clean presses. By plaintiff’s own admission, the existing spray bar/dry roll systems worked poorly with low VOC solvents. Therefore, a problem needed to be solved. The mechanics of printing press design led to a finite number of solutions. The pieces for the ultimately embraced solution were all present in the prior art, and it was only a matter of time before they were put together in the manner described in the asserted claims of the ‘976 patent. We find this to be true, particularly in light of KSR’s instruction that “Common sense teaches … that familiar items may have obvious uses beyond their primary purposes, and in many cases a person or ordinary skill will be able to fit the teachings of multiple patents together like pieces of a puzzle.” KSR, 127 S.Ct. at 1742. See also, Muniauction, Inc. v. Thomson Corp., ___ F.3d ___, 2008 WL 2717689, at *6-*10 (Fed. Cir. July 14, 2008); Leapfrog Enterprises, Inc. v. Fisher-Price, Inc., 485 F.3d 1157, 1160-63 (Fed. Cir. 2007).
(parentheticals omitted).
The Court also found the patent invalid because “reduced air content” was indefinite. The patent did not teach how or when to measure the air content reduction. Because three different experts could start the calculation from three different baselines and get three different, but equally correct results, the term was indefinite.
* Click here for more on this case in the Blog’s archives..

Continue Reading Court Discusses KSR Obviousness Standard & Indefiniteness

Am. Needle, Inc. v. New Orleans Louisiana Saints, No. 07-4006 (7th Cir. Aug. 18, 2008) (Kanne, J.).*
Judge Kanne, writing for a unanimous panel, affirmed Judge Moran’s opinions holding that the National Football League (“NFL”) acting through its NFL Properties entity was a single entity and, therefore, dismissing plaintiff American Needle’s Sherman Act antitrust claims — click here and here to read the Blog’s post on Judge Moran’s prior opinions in this case. For more than twenty years, NFL Properties licensed American Needle to use various NFL and NFL team trademarks on American Needle’s headwear. American Needle filed this suit after NFL Properties entered an exclusive, ten year license with Reebok, ending American Needle’s license rights. Plaintiff argued that the NFL teams collectively, as well as in concert with Reebok, violated the antitrust laws by acting together through NFL Properties to license their collective intellectual property rights exclusively to Reebok (American Needle argued that the NFL did not violate antitrust laws when it licensed to numerous parties, including American Needle, through NFL Properties).
The Seventh Circuit explained that sports leagues are difficult to classify because they display elements of a single entity, as well as elements of a joint venture made up of independent owners. The Seventh Circuit, therefore, determines whether a sports league is a single entity “one league at a time” and “one facet of a league at a time.” In this case, the NFL was a single entity because for the purpose of promoting its football product — because no one team can stage a game alone. It followed that if the NFL was a single entity for promoting football, it was also a single entity for promoting its product by selling NFL apparel. Additionally, the Court noted that the record established that the NFL teams had been acting as a single entity for IP licensing since 1963.
The opinion’s introductory paragraph is also worth discussing. It is very well crafted, engaging both legal and non-legal readers:
As the most successful and popular professional sports league in America today, the NFL needs little introduction. Indeed, the NFL has inspired countless hours of heated and in-depth discussion about the league’s 88 years of professional-football history, including its great players, championship teams, and memorable games. But the only discussion the NFL inspires here involves aspects of the league that are not as well known: the league’s corporate structure, and the nature of its relationships with its member teams and the entities charged with licensing those teams’ intellectual property.
For another perspective on the opinion, check out the WSJ Law Blog’s post
* Click here to read the Seventh Circuit’s opinion.

Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Affirms: NFL is a Single Entity

Rosenthal Collins Group, LLC v. Trading Techs. Int’l, Inc, No. 05 C 4088, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Aug. 15, 2008) (Moran, Sen. J.).*
Judge Moran granted declaratory judgment plaintiff Rosenthal Collins Group’s (“RCG”) motion for leave to use an expert witness that declaratory judgment defendant Trading Technologies (“TT”) previously met with. TT met the first prong of the test for expert disqualification. TT had established a confidential relationship with the expert, as proven by the non-disclosure (“NDA”) agreement entered into by TT and the expert.
But the NDA was not enough to meet the second prong of the test, that confidential information requiring disqualification was exchanged. The expert stated that he had two meetings with TT approximately four years before the issuance of this opinion. One meeting was held before the NDA was executed and one after. TT alleged that there were additional meetings, but only had supporting evidence of two meetings. TT also alleged that it discussed litigation strategy, prior art and a relevant court decision with the expert. But based upon an in camera review of TT’s evidence, the Court held that there was not sufficient evidence of an exchange of confidential information. The emails TT provided were one or two lines each and contained no confidential or work product information. And TT did not provide attorney notes or other evidence of confidential or work product information. The Court did acknowledge that one email discussion of a court opinion could have been work product, but the expert’s response was so brief and vague that the Court did not consider it advice.
Finally, TT did not offer evidence that it retained the expert or paid him any fees. TT did argue that it compensated the expert by having TT’s president speak to a trading group the expert owned. But there was no evidence that the speaking engagement was intended to be or was accepted as payment for the expert’s work.
* Click here to read much more about this case in the Blog’s archives and click here for a copy of this opinion.

Continue Reading Trading Technologies: Party can Use Expert Previously Contacted by Opposing Party

Trading Techs. Int’l, Inc. v. eSpeed, Inc., No. 04 C 5312, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Jul. 24, 2008) (Moran, Sen. J.).*
Judge Moran granted defendants’ (collectively “eSpeed”) motion to stay judgment pending appeal without requiring a supersedeas bond for the full amount of the judgment, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 62(d). Plaintiff Trading Technologies (“TT”) argued that the volatility and instability of the financial industry warranted a bond. But the Court held that the evidence proved that eSpeed was currently financially sound and had more than sufficient funds available to make payment, such that the cost of a bond would be a waste of money. The Court noted that eSpeed (which recently merged with an affiliate, BCG Partners) had $340M in first quarter revenues, $150M in shareholder equity and $200M in cash or cash-equivalents on hand. The Court did, however, note that TT could monitor eSpeed’s financial situation and return to the Court if eSpeed later looks like it might become unable to pay.
* Click here for much more on this case in the Blog’s archives.

Continue Reading Trading Technologies v. eSpeed: Judgment Stayed Pending Appeal

Rosenthal Collins Group, LLC v. Trading Techs. Int’l, Inc., No. 05 C 4088, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Jul. 17, 2008) (Moran, Sen. J.).
Judge Moran denied declaratory judgment plaintiff Rosenthal Collins Group’s (“RCG”) motion to vacate the Court’s March 14, 2007 order awarding declaratory judgment defendant Trading Technologies’ (“TT”) Fed. R. Civ. P. 37 sanctions – click here to read the Blog’s post about that opinion and click here to read much more about this case and the related cases. In that earlier order, the Court held that RCG’s motion for summary judgment of invalidity was “somewhat misleading” and possibly “disingenuous.” Instead of dismissing the case as TT requested, 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.
In this motion, RCG argued that the Court should vacate that sanctions order because the Court held that TT had not proved by clear and convincing evidence that RCG acted willfully or with bad faith. But the Court held that Rule 37 sanctions could be based upon willfulness, bad faith or fault. Fault went to the reasonableness of the party’s content, not necessarily intent. And the Court held that RCG’s actions met the standard for fault. Furthermore, while clear and convincing was the burden of proof for dismissal, clear and convincing proof is not required for lesser sanctions.
Finally, the Court held that the categories of fees and costs sought by TT were within the scope of the Court’s order, but ordered the parties to brief the reasonableness of the specific fees sought by TT, using the Local Rule 54.3 requirements (a rule usually used for post-judgment fees and costs).

Continue Reading Trading Technologies: Rule 37 Sanctions Based Upon Fault

Rosenthal Collins Group, LLC v. Trading Techs. Int’l, Inc., No. 05 C 4088, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Jul. 17, 2008) (Moran, Sen. J.).
Judge Moran denied declaratory judgment defendant Trading Technologies’ (“TT”) contempt motion and, instead, provided declaratory judgment plaintiff Rosenthal Collins Group’s (“RCG”) two weeks to produce the previously compelled documents and to schedule the ordered deposition of third party declarant Walter Buist, the creator of the alleged prior art trading software Wit DSM. RCG previously filed a motion for summary judgment of invalidity of TT’s patents based upon a declaration by Buist regarding his Wit DSM software that he developed, at least partially, more than a year before TT filed its patent applications. In a previous opinion, the Court held that RCG’s motion was “somewhat misleading” and possibly “disingenuous,” but refused to dismiss the case (you can read the Blog’s discussion of that opinion here, as well as more on this case generally in the Blog’s archives).
During a deposition after RCG filed its summary judgment motion, Buist stated, among other things, that various drafts of his declaration were created, that he created a “differences” list and provided it to RCG’s counsel and that he had used various computers during his work related to the case. TT sought all drafts of the declaration, a list of any destroyed drafts, the differences list, any drives or computers used by Buist and all documents reflecting communications between Buist or his associates and RCG and its counsel or associates. And the Court ordered RCG to:
1. reproduce all such documents;
2. produce any remaining responsive documents (including the computers requested);
3. produce documents reflecting relationships between Buist and RCG or its counsel, so long as such documents are not privileged; and
4. produce Buist for an additional deposition to answer questions related to the compelled documents, as well as Buist’s relationship with RCG and its counsel.
(Click here to read the Blog’s post about that opinion). RCG, however, never produced the compelled documents or Buist for another deposition. RCG explained that it thought the Court stayed the compelled discovery when it stayed all other discovery pending the Federal Circuit’s resolution of the cross-appeals of the TT v. eSpeed case. Additionally, RCG noted that during a hearing four days before the start of the TT v. eSpeed trial the Court told the parties to put the Buist deposition on the “back burner.” The Court explained that its “back burner” comment was not intended to stay its order, just to delay resolution of the issue until after the looming trial. And as for the stay pending the Federal Circuit appeals, the Court held that the Wit DSM-related discovery was not relevant to the appealed issues and would not be affected by them. Furthermore, the Court had already ordered their production, a production that would be required regardless of the outcome of the Federal Circuit appeal. But the Court gave RCG the benefit of the doubt that it had misinterpreted the Court’s orders and instructions, and gave RCG two weeks to complete the compelled production.

Continue Reading Trading Technologies: Court Gives Non-Producing Party “Benefit of the Doubt”

Trading Techs. Int’l, Inc. v. eSpeed, Inc., No. 04 C 5312 (N.D. Ill. Jun. 13, 2008).
The Court held that its May 22 permanent injunction against defendant eSpeed (click here for the Blog’s post on the injunction) was a final judgment, which allowed for appeal to the Federal Circuit. Anyone reading the Blog’s recent posts regarding the Court’s permanent injunction against eSpeed, and eSpeed’s appeal of the injunction as well as plaintiff Trading Technologies’ (“TT”) cross-appeal, might have assumed that the Court had entered a final judgment. eSpeed apparently did because it filed an appeal of the permanent injunction to the Federal Circuit (click here for the Blog’s post on the issues on appeal). TT filed its broader appeal shortly thereafter (which eSpeed objected to as untimely because the Court had not entered a final judgment on anything beyond the permanent injunction), but disagreed that the Court had entered a final judgment on any issue. TT, therefore, also filed an emergency motion requesting that the Court vacate its permanent injunction, rule on the parties’ cross-motions for attorney’s fees (the Court now has ruled on those motions, click here for the Blog’s post about that decision) and then reenter the permanent injunction along with final judgment.*
This may seem like irrelevant procedural posturing, but TT explains the appellate rules implications in its emergency motion:
The rules state that the first-filed notice of appeal is the appellant, but when both parties file an appeal on the same day, the plaintiff is deemed the appellant. F.R.A.P. 28.1. Where there is a cross-appeal, the appellant has the advantage of having higher word limits in its briefs and also files the first brief focused solely on the issues it seeks to appeal. The general rule is that a plaintiff, like TT here, has the right to be an appellant if it wants to appeal an issue.
The Court did not directly rule on TT’s motion, but effectively decided it by entering this Minute Order stating that its May 22 permanent injunction was a final judgment effective May 22. The Clerk, who subsequently entered final judgment on all issues effective May 22, and the parties — eSpeed filed a notice of appeal of all issues rather than its initial appeal of just the injunction — treated the final judgment as relating to all matters before the Court, which makes both parties’ appeals timely. According to TT’s above analysis, because TT filed its appeal after but on the same day as eSpeed, TT will be appellant and eSpeed will be the cross-appellant.
For those concerned that the Blog might be silent about this case for months, have no fear. The related cases continue and I will continue blogging about both the related cases and the appeal.
* Click here for TT’s emergency motion, click here for eSpeed’s response, and click here for TT’s reply. Also, click here for much more on this case in the Blog’s archives.

Continue Reading Trading Technologies v. eSpeed: Final Judgment

Trading Techs. Int’l, Inc. v. eSpeed, Inc., No. 04 C 5312, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. May 22, 2008) (Moran, Sen. J.).*
Judge Moran denied the party’s cross motions for attorney’s fees. Plaintiff Trading Technologies (“TT”) argued that the case was exceptional. But the Court held that it was not for the following reasons:
eSpeed’s refusal to admit infringement was reasonable. A defendant requiring plaintiff to make its proofs does not alone make a case exceptional.
eSpeed’s decision not to agree to an interlocutory appeal of claim construction and noninfringement decision was not grounds to make the case exceptional. Although eSpeed argued against an interlocutory appeal, the Court made the ultimate determination.
eSpeed’s pursuit of its inequitable conduct claim, which it lost after a bench trial, did not make the case exceptional. In the Court’s opinion regarding inequitable conduct, the Court ruled for TT, but noted that eSpeed’s case was not frivolous – click here to read the Blog’s post about that opinion.
The jury’s willfulness finding did not make the case exceptional. This was especially true because the Court overturned the jury’s willfulness decision based upon In re Seagate – click here to read the Blog’s post about that case.
The Court noted that neither party in this case acted more outrageously than the other. Counsel for both parties were zealous advocates that pushed, but did not go beyond, the envelope.
eSpeed argued that the Court should award it attorney’s fees, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(e)(2), for proving that a particular use of a software package was commercial and not experimental, a fact that TT denied in a request for admission. The Court chose not to rule on TT’s and eSpeed’s respective procedural arguments regarding whether TT was required to admit the use was commercial. Instead, the Court denied attorney’s fees because of the Court’s earlier ruling that failure to disclose the commercial use in question to the Patent Office was not inequitable conduct because the use occurred before the critical date. And, as with eSpeed’s decision to hold TT to its proofs, the Court would not punish TT for holding eSpeed to its proofs on inequitable conduct.
* Click here to read this opinion and click here to read much more about this case in the Blog’s archives.

Continue Reading Trading Technologies v. eSpeed: No Attorney’s Fees