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 April 28, 2017, the District Court for the District of Delaware denied AVM Technologies’ motion for summary judgment because Intel’s non infringement defense based on the reverse doctrine of equivalents requires the Court to resolve disputes of material fact regarding the manner in which Intel’s product functioned relative to the claimed invention.
The District Court of Delaware denied defendant Wockhardt’s motion to dismiss a patent infringement action based on the reasonable inference that plaintiff AstraZeneca may need to assert its patent rights in the future. On May 23, 2014, AstraZeneca filed a patent infringement action in the District of Delaware against Wockhardt. AztraZeneca alleged that Wockhardt’s submission of an Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) to the FDA with a Paragraph IV certification infringed several of AstraZeneca’s patents pursuant to 35 U.S.C § 271(e)(2). Prior to the initiation of the litigation, Wockhardt submitted an ANDA seeking the FDA’s approval to market a generic version of AstraZeneca’s ONGLYZA drug product. Wockhardt’s ANDA was submitted with a Paragraph IV certification, which means that Wockhardt asserted that AstraZeneca’s patents covering ONGLYZA were invalid or unenforceable or not infringed by Wockhardt’s ANDA product. Wockhardt sent a Notice Letter to AstraZeneca stating that Wockhardt had submitted an ANDA with a Paragraph IV certification and that it intended to engage in the commercial manufacture, use and sale of a generic version of the ONGLYZA product before the expiration of AstraZeneca’s patents. Pursuant to the Hatch-Waxman Act, AstraZeneca filed suit within 45 days of receipt of Wockhardt’s Notice Letter.
In a decision issued on August 25, 2016, Judge Sleet weighed in on the ongoing debate about whether a claim directed to a method of treatment is patent eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101.
On May 2, 2016, the District Court for the District of Delaware denied defendant’s motion for attorneys’ fees under § 285. Plaintiff had originally filed suit against defendant, arguing that it infringed two patents generally directed to computer-based messaging systems. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that the claims were directed to the abstract idea of “collecting and saving information relating to a business process,” and thus were invalid under § 101. The court ultimately granted defendant’s motion.
In granting defendant’s proposal regarding the scope of a prosecution bar, the court faulted plaintiff’s failure in developing a record to demonstrate the alleged harm it would suffer if it were denied counsel of its choice.
According to the Federal Circuit, a party seeking imposition of a patent prosecution bar must show that there is a risk that counsel involved in matters before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) may inadvertently use confidential information learned in litigation. The risk of inadvertent disclosure turns on the extent to which counsel is involved in “competitive decision-making” with its client. The court must then balance that risk against the potential harm that the party affected by the bar would face were it to be denied counsel of its choice.
A district court in Delaware granted defendant Jack Henry & Associates’ motion for attorneys’ fees and ordered plaintiff Joao Bock Transaction Systems to pay $1 million in attorney’s fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285. The order came following the Federal Circuit’s affirmance of the district court’s order invalidating plaintiff’s online-transaction security patent as claiming only an abstract idea. In awarding the fees to Defendant, Judge Robinson stated that “[t]aking into account that patent cases are complex and patent litigation is an expensive proposition, nevertheless, the court will award attorney fees of $1,000,000 to account for the fact that plaintiff's ever changing litigation strategies (including its claim construction positions) created a tortuous path to resolution.”
After a jury found infringement and no invalidity in a patent case involving HVAC systems, Judge Robinson of the District of Delaware granted a new trial based on prejudicial and gratuitous statements made by an attorney during closing arguments. The court explained that of the most common reasons for granting a new trial, one is “improper conduct by an attorney or the court [that] unfairly influenced the verdict.” Opinion at 4. Defendant Goodman argued in the post-trial phase that Plaintiff Carrier’s counsel made improper arguments during closing regarding indemnity and copying issues, as well as the burden of proof.