I have posted many times on the Tinnus v. Telebrands litigation, which involves water balloon patents. Another order is now out, this time involving postverdict motions including recovery of enhanced damages and attorneys fees for “exceptional” case status, as well as and entry of a permanent injunction. It is one readers will want to study, as it contains some actions that are extraordinary – even by patent litigation standards. When a court’s order uses the term “flagrantly” multiple times, you know things are about to get very interesting. There is much to be learned here, so let’s begin …
This time the verdict is from Tyler, where a jury passed on a claim that had been stayed previously while proceedings played themselves out at the PTAB. The jury found the single asserted claim infringed, that the claim wasn’t shown by clear and convincing evidence to be invalid, and assessed damages of $1.5 million. I have attached the verdict form and some other tidbits I thought might be of interest on the stay issue.
Following the addition of U.S. District Judge Jeremy Kernodle to the Eastern District of Texas bench late last year, most of the Tyler docket, including this case, was reassigned from Judge Gilstrap and Judge Schroeder to Judge Kernodle. Judge Kernodle just entered an order denying the defendant’s renewed motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim which argued that the patents in suit claimed ineligible subject matter.
Motions to amend pleadings are usually not the hottest of topics in complex litigation. Often the court has permitted an extended period of amendment without leave, so it’s not particularly controversial when a party adds some claims or defenses. But when the amendment is outside the permitted period and/or late in the case the standard for amendment rises. That’s when the old adage that it’s when a pig gets stuck that it starts squealing rings true.
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.
This case presents one of the more interesting examples of partial stays due to parallel proceedings before the PTO, with the court staying some of the claims, and severing and proceeding to trial on others. It also illustrates the consequences of not joining in pending IPRs.
While the rest of us were settling down to watch the election returns Tuesday a Tyler jury in Judge Schroeder’s court rendered a verdict in a patent case involving two claims from a single patent.
This order arises out of a defendant’s request to strike a plaintiff damages expert’s testimony regarding litigation settlement agreements. As the Court notes, the analysis is a case-by-case one, which considers the facts of each agreement, which makes this case another one to be reviewed to see which side of the line these agreements fall on.
Defendants in patent cases sometimes allege that a plaintiff has failed to comply with the marking requirement of 35 U.S.C. § 287, and thus that pre-suit damages are limited. As here, that motion often takes the form of a motion for partial summary judgment. The Court’s order in this case provides a useful exposition on the applicable standards for patent marking, and applies those standards to the facts of this rather interesting case to determine whether the pleadings were sufficient for the plaintiff to seek presuit damages in the first place, and if so, whether the defendant met its burden to allege a limitation, and if so (also) whether the plaintiff had satisfied its burden of compliance.
Wait – I went into the ditch here. On a motion for summary judgment, the final question is not whether the plaintiff had shown compliance, but actually just whether there is a factual dispute as to whether unmarked patented products were sold. There, I feel better.
I finished reading these rulings on the parties’ motions in limine in a recent patent case this afternoon and decided that there was nothing unusual enough in them to justify a post analyzing them, but am posting the order anyway simply to show examples of common rulings in response to common issues in patent cases. These are always worth reviewing so that when a similar issue comes up, you have an idea what the ruling is likely to be if the issue is disputed, including the specific language that might be appropriate for an agreed limine.