The issue on this motion was whether the plaintiff could go forward with claims of willful infringement. The holding granted the motion, but only on one side of the filing date.
This order resolves a number of summary judgment motions on breach of contract claims arising out of an employment relationship. The facts are bespoke, so I won’t go through them, but the analysis may be of interest if you’re itching to have a court resolve contract issues.
A somewhat common summary judgment motion late in patent cases is one that seeks summary judgment as to the plaintiff’s claims of willful infringement. This case provides a useful example of a ruling on such a motion which is, at least in part, aptly summarized by Collin’s shirt – “I Can Only Please One Person Each Day – Today’s Not Your Day (Tomorrow doesn’t look good either)”. Behind Collin is one of the Rose windows at Notre Dame de Paris, which we learned earlier today … are still standing.
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.
My mother used to sing the song High Hopes – you know, the one about the ant trying to move the rubber tree plant? Noninfringement summary judgment motions always remind me of that song because it’s often difficult to get those across the finish lines when the standard precludes granting the motion if there are genuine disputes of material fact. This order shows how parties on both sides address the all-important factual dispute question for these motions.
As she is smiling, the woman in the picture is most definitely not the plaintiff in this case from the Sherman Division involving gym lockers gone horribly, horribly wrong.
Today saw one summary judgment ruling and five Dauberts roll out from the chambers downstairs across the street, making things about as busy downstairs this week as they were when this photo of Judge Payne’s future courtroom was taken in 1940-ish. So let’s take a quick look, shall we?
This is a proposed national class action dealing with annuity contracts. Defendants sought summary judgment as to the plaintiff’s breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract claims. The Court’s ruling had something for each side.
It’s one of those transition days at the office as my last two October trials either settled or were continued within 24 hours of each other yesterday after a whirlwind last couple of weeks full of activity getting both ready for their respective pretrial conferences. You know the kind of day I’m talking about – closing files, stacking up the documents to be shredded, trying to clean up the mess my to do list has become, and having the usual existential debate – am I happy or sad that I’m not as busy as I was two days ago.Hmm. In terms of specifics, this morning it means I’m in the office early enough to tack on another post before the daily weblog email deadline of 8 am, and I thought this order seeking partial summary judgment on the issue of damages, which deals with marking issues.
Two of patent litigants’ favorite topics come together in this afternoon’s essay by Judge Payne ruling on a defendant’s motion for partial summary judgment of willful infringement. (Ever wonder why “infringement” has an “e” and “judgment” doesn’t? I have, but just the once). So crack open a peanut butter cup, and let’s see what the Court had to say.