The ground rules for when stays are available when an IPR has been filed are fairly well established locally, but occasionally a new fact crops up and requires analysis, or a court provides an updated analysis of the issue. Such was the case here.
More and more recent patent cases involve patents a party declares are essential to practice a standard. As was recently the situation in a case in Tyler, sometimes a party asks a jury to determine whether a party holding standard-essential patents complied with its obligations in its negotiations. In this case, the plaintiff asked the Court to declare that it had not breached its obligation to offer a license on FRAND, i.e. fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory, terms. In other words, was its offer FRAND?
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.
Patents make it to the market in many different ways. In this case, the inventor/IP owner created a product embodying the IP from the patent and licensed the trademark and distribution rights for the product to another company. Both (now plaintiffs) then entered into an exclusive management agreement with two other companies (now the defendants) to market and sell the product. That agreement also contained a promise by the defendants to buy certain product from the plaintiff. An issue in the case was whether the plaintiffs were obligated to fulfill contracts between the defendants and their distributors including agreements with a distributor affiliated with the defendants.
The plaintiff in this patent case brought a motion to dismiss the defendant’s counterclaims of patent infringement (no, not noninfringement – I know what you’re thinking), promissory estoppel and unjust enrichment. The Court’s report and recommendations, later adopted by the district court, provides a useful foray into the “dancing backwards” world of counterclaims.
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.
These findings and conclusions resolve the nonjury issues remaining after a recent jury trial in a patent case.
Motions to dismiss pursuant to FRCP 12(c) are not the most favored motions in the world. For that reason, this EDTX order arising out of the world of college basketball granting one in part is helpful to practitioners because it shows the type of grounds that can be successful across a variety of claims. Although, in fairness, it might be better categorized as showing the arguments that are likely to be unsuccessful.
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.
This is a 1400(b) case in which the court passes on the plaintiff’s claim that the “regular and established place of business” test was satisfied. But the case had an interesting twist I had not seen previously.