When your district gets two new judges in the same month you get – two new orders assigning civil & criminal actions, and not always just to the judges you’d expect.
I’m posting a few pictures from our trip to the Capitol with the local Chamber of Commerce (and our two youngest boys, who served as House pages) last week as they seem appropriate for a verdict from a patent case involving oil field technology. The verdict came from Texarkana last week, where a jury in Judge Schroeder’s court rendered a defense verdict on infringement. Invalidity wasn’t submitted.
Whenever the makeup on a district court’s bench changes, though retirements or the addition of new judges, the docket is reallocated. Last week saw a significant reallocation of the Eastern District’s cases due to the arrival on the bench of Judge Jeremy Kernodle in Tyler and changes in Senior Judge Ron Clark’s docket. I wanted to go through the changes and what they mean in the affected divisions.
It feels like a Monday again, so let’s look at another False Claims Act case. This is another report & recommendation adopted by the district judge which addressed five separate motions to dismiss the Relator’s First Amended Complaint. And they seem familiar, somehow.
This Monday’s False Claims Act case is a report & recommendation by a magistrate judge, adopted by the district judge, which addressed a motion to dismiss relator’s claims under the FCA’s first to file rule, and motions to dismiss under FRCP 12(b)(6) and FRCP 9, which implicated both normal and heightened standards of pleadings. No objections to the report were filed, thus the district court’s review was limited to plain error / manifest injustice, and it did not find any.
A Texarkana jury in Judge Schroeder’s court returned a verdict in favor of Maxell against defendant ZTE (USA), Inc. last Friday following a two-week trial. The jury found all 16 claims from the 11 asserted patents infringed. Eleven of the claim from seven patents were found to be infringed willfully. The jury found that four claims across two patents had not been shown to be invalid as anticipated or obvious (one question for all invalidity theories), and assessed damages at $43.3 million. But the jury also made an additional finding in the defendant’s favor with respect to five of the claims that bear some closer scrutiny, as it begins to tell us how 101 claims can be addressed in front of a jury. This reminded me of how Judge Schroeder addressed a similar issue dealing with contract formation in my April jury trial in Texarkana, so I wanted to address that issue in some additional detail (as well as a few others) by analyzing the court’s instructions to the jury.
This venue opinion is sort of a double-header, since it includes an order from Magistrate Judge Love, followed by a second order overruling objections to a different report & recommendation from Judge Love by Judge Schroeder. So maybe that’s a tripleheader, but the middle one is secret.
Paradoxically, I’m going to celebrate receiving my second patent this morning (9,955,784 is my new favorite number) with analysis of what’s happening locally regarding the patentable subject matter defense under Section 101 following the Federal Circuit’s opinion in Aatrix Software, Inc. v. Green Shades Software, Inc., 882 F.3d 1121 (Fed. Cir. 2018).
I have had a few requests for some attention to that specific issue, and wanted to let people know what I’ve seen so far locally.
This recent order resolves a motion to compel and for discovery sanctions in a patent case dealing with issues of (1) which products were actually in the case; and (2) whether a late disclosure was curable.
I’m working on a trio of cases today, all of which deal with claim construction. The first case includes – buried deep in a 117 page order a finding of indefiniteness with respect to a means-plus-function term that it worth analysis. Of course any opinion of that length will also have a wealth of useful standards that serve as a snapshot of what at least one court understands to be the law as of the end of January, in the year of our Lord 2018 (actually 2011 but once upon a time there was a monk that wasn’t so strong in math, and the rest is, literally, history).