On September 9, 2017, an Eastern District of Texas magistrate judge issued a report and recommendation holding that a plaintiff was estopped from asserting its patent infringement claims because statements made in response to an inter partes review (IPR) petition constituted a disclaimer.
In a report and recommendation issued Tuesday, August 15, 2017, a magistrate judge in the Eastern District of Texas stated that failure to provide a patent examiner with a copy of a relevant post-grant review (PGR) institution decision does not make a patent unenforceable for inequitable conduct.
In Oil-Dri Corporates of America v. Nestle Purina Petcare Company, the court recently held that a defendant who has filed a parallel inter partes review (IPR) petition is estopped from raising invalidity grounds in the district court that were not, but reasonably could have been, raised in the defendant’s IPR petition. Oil-Dri, 1-15-cv-01067 (ILND August 2, 2017, Order). In this case, Purina raised several invalidity arguments in district court, some of which were not raised in Purina’s IPR petition. Id. at 5.
On August 3, 2017, Judge Mazzant of the Eastern District of Texas denied a motion to exclude the testimony of defendants’ expert regarding patentability for parroting arguments from defendants’ motion for summary judgement.
To narrow issues and promote settlement in “oversized patent cases,” on July 31, 2017, Chief Judge Leonard Stark of the District of Delaware issued an order that indicates a preference for bellwether trials on all issues for a subset of representative patents, instead of “reverse bifurcation,” wherein the issue of damages is addressed first. Intel Corp. v. Future Link Sys., LLC, Case No. 1:14-cv-377 (D. Del. July 31, 2017) (J. Stark).
On June 19, 2017, Northern District of California Judge William Alsup granted-in-part and denied-in-part plaintiff Comcast Cable Communications, LLC’s (“Comcast”) motion to strike defendants OpenTV, Inc. and Nagravision SA’s (collectively “OpenTV”) infringement contentions. The court, however, did not strike with prejudice but instead treated Comcast’s motion as a motion to compel amendment of OpenTV’s infringement contentions so that OpenTV could cure deficiencies.
The Supreme Court’s recent holding in TC Heartland settled several points of law: first, 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b) is the “sole and exclusive provision controlling venue in patent infringement actions; second, the broader venue provisions in 28 U.S.C. § 1391(c) are not applicable to patent infringement cases; and third, TC Heartland reversed the Federal Circuit’s decision that reaffirmed VE Holding and held that “the current version of § 1391 does not contain any indication that Congress intended to alter the meaning of § 1400(b) as interpreted in Fourco.” In the aftermath of TC Heartland, there have been inconsistent approaches to the question of waiver and whether the recent Supreme Court decision constitutes new law. Two such decisions are detailed, below.
Last week, Judge Nelson of the District of Minnesota decided that further briefing on venue in The Valspar Corp. et al. v. PPG Industries, Inc. was appropriate given the recent TC Heartland decision by the Supreme Court. This decision by Judge Nelson came even though the case was already well past the dispositive motion stage and quickly approaching Markman. The decision was based off of a letter written by defendant, PPG Industries, essentially asking the Judge to recognize the unique situation created by TC Heartland. In the letter, PPG stated that “[t]his is not a discretionary question as to what venue is ‘convenient’…rather, this raises a new question as to whether venue is proper in Minnesota.” PPG went on to address the Rule 12 waiver issue by citing cases stating that a defense cannot be waived “which did not exist when [a party] makes its first defensive move.”