Case Stayed Pursuant to “First to File” Rule

One of the first legal principles I learned about as a law clerk back in the days of MS-DOS and paper slip opinions from the Fifth Circuit was the “first to file” rule.

In Texas Instruments v. Micron, 815 F.Supp. 994 (E.D. Tex. 1993) Judge Hall stayed TI’s patent infringement action in favor of a “first filed” action in Idaho, and in so doing set out the metes and bounds of the doctrine, which also addressing the various transfer factors.  He also made the observation that “[a]ll too often, patent infringement suits begin with a battle over where the war is to be fought.”  Id. at p. 996, n. 1.

The reason I still have the paper copy is that when I clerked it was a tradition that the clerks kept the paper advance sheets of Judge Hall’s published opinions once the bound copies came in. I still have mine, which as you can tell I keep with Judge’s portrait, biography, and an autographed copy of the 1991 CJRA Plan that was the genesis of the EDTX that we know today.  Since there were two clerks, if we both needed the same advance sheet for our collection we’d pick up the one from Texarkana the next time Judge Hall had hearings there, which is when we’d process the stacks of new volumes and advance sheets to keep the law library up to date in the rooms of old barrister bookcases that filled chambers and the law library upstairs (now Judge Craven’s chambers) – and toss boxes upon boxes of obsolete advance sheets.

Earlier this morning Judge Gilstrap applied this rule, similarly staying a later-filed infringement action in favor of an earlier filed declaratory action in South Carolina, citing his predecessor’s opinion in TI v. Micron.

April 24 Patent Case Scheduling Conferences

The most recent batch of bimonthly patent case scheduling conferences was held April 24 in Marshall, and as usual I have a brief rundown of the results compared to the last conference at the beginning of February.
I am a little behind compiling the results since I was in trial with Judge Schroeder in Texarkana when the conferences took place, but the good news is that lets us see what’s happened in these cases in the now 36 days since then.

Ericsson $75 million verdict reinstated; damages enhanced $25 million; no attorneys fees

After a four-day trial in December, a Marshall jury in Judge Roy Payne’s court found that Defendant TCL willfully infringed claims 1 and 5 of United States Patent No. 7,149,510 asserted by Plaintiff Ericsson by selling phones and devices equipped with the Google Android operating system, and the jury awarded $75 million as a lump sum royalty.

The court previously ordered a new trial on damages after finding Ericsson’s damages theory unreliable, but last Thursday the Court reconsidered that order, reinstated the jury’s verdict in full, and resolved all other remaining disputes, i.e. TCL’s motions for judgment as a matter of law, and Ericsson’s motions for enhanced damages and attorney’s fees.

12(c) Motion to Dismiss Under Section 101 Denied

Seems like just last week that I summarized where we were on local decisions after the Federal Circuit held that some Section 101 issues were questions of fact.  Oh wait, it was just last week.  Well, we have another one – this time within an order denying a Section 101 motion at the pretrial stage, this time explicitly concluding that there were issues of fact that precluded dismissal as to two of the three asserted patents.