Deetz Family, LLC v. Rust-Oleum Corporation (16-cv-10790).

Judge Hillman denied Deetz’s emergency motion to quash the deposition of a former Rust-Oleum employee that was noticed after the close of discovery. Rust-Oleum noticed the deposition in an attempt to obtain testimony that could be entered at trial, as the ex-employee now resides outside of the subpoena power of the court. Judge Hillman, noting that the ex-employee was more of a “friendly” witness for Rust-Oleum and that Deetz had discouraged the ex-employee from voluntarily appearing at trial, determined that the deposition was more in the guise of preserving testimony than in collecting discoverable evidence, which makes the deposition permissible despite being noticed past the close of discovery. To allow for meaningful cross-examination, Judge Hillman further ordered that Deetz would be permitted to take two hours of discovery testimony before the preservation testimony would begin.

PTO to Remain Open During Shutdown

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has announced that they will remain open for business as usual during the shutdown, running on fees collected over the past year.  They anticipate this lasting a few weeks, at which point they would be forced to shut down the bulk of their operations, remaining open to accept new applications but not actually examining applications.

F2VS Technologies, LLC v. The AES Corporation (18-cv-12567).

F2VS accuses alarm company AES of infringing three patents relating to wireless communications networks. Specifically, F2VS asserts that AES’s products and services that incorporate its “ IntelliNet” technology infringe at least one claim of each of the three patents. Based on the limited information that can be found on the company, it appears that F2VS is a non-practicing entity that began asserting the three patents within the last two years.

RICPI Communications LLC v. Simoco EMEA Ltd. (18-cv-12469).

Texas’ RICPI sued Simoco, a UK company, accusing Simoco of infringing its US 7,333,806 patent, titled “System and Method for Enabling Two-Way Radio Communications over a Computer Network.” RICPI asserts that Simoco’s XD Solutions digital two-way radio products infringe both system and method claims of the ‘806 patent both directly and through inducement. The case is assigned to Judge Talwani.

Palomar Technologies, Inc. v. MRSI Systems, LLC (18-cv-10236).

As a part of its defense to this patent infringement lawsuit, MSRI sought inter partes review in 2016. The patent emerged with most claims deemed valid. MSRI then challenged the validity of the patent over additional prior art references. MSRI sought to get around the estoppel provided by 35 USC 315(e)(2), which proscribes assertions of invalidity on grounds that were raised or could reasonably have been raised during the IPR, by providing declarations and search results from two outside search firms and asserting that these reasonable searches did not uncover the new references and thus the validity challenge could not reasonably have been raised. Magistrate Judge Bowler granted in part and denied in part MRSI’s motion to quash subpoenas issued by Palomar to the two search firms. She found that the searches were, at a minimum, subject to work-product protection, but that MSRI had waived such protection by affirmatively relying on the search results and affidavits in their opposition to Palomar’s motion for partial summary judgment. She determined that Palomar was entitled to discovery from the two firms, but that some of Palomar’s requests were overbroad and/or covered unrelated subject matter. Accordingly, while not quashing the subpoenas, she limited the subpoenas to specifics of the actual searches performed for MSRI.

SiOnyx, LLC et al.v. Hamamatsu Photonics K.K. et al. (15-cv-13488).

Magistrate Judge Boal granted in part and denied in part SiOnyx’s motion to compel testimony and documents concerning Hamamatsu’s customer agreements. Hamamatsu had previously been compelled to produce sales agreements pertaining to the accused products. SiOnyx asserts that as a result of that production, it learned that Hamamatsu had actively negotiated with a major (sealed) customer of SiOnyx during the course of the litigation. SiOnyx sought additional depositions concerning the late-produced agreements as well as documents concerning the agreements. Judge Boal found SiOnyx’s requests overly broad, in that they covered not only the newly-discovered information but also topics that SiOnyx could have covered in prior depositions, but acknowledged that SiOnyx was entitled to some additional discovery as a result of the late production She ordered Hamamatsu to respond to depositions by written question pursuant to FRCP 31.

Deetz Family, LLC v. Rust-Oleum Corp. (16-cv-10790).

Dayton Deetz, the sole inventor on a pair of patents relating to magnetic additives for paint, ranted a non-exclusive license to Rust-Oleum in 2005. Deetz asserts that Rust-Oleum failed to make the minimum payments under the license in 2006-2010, and stopped making payments altogether on 2010, leading Deetz to terminate the license. Deetz then filed suit, asserting in addition to breach of contract that Rust-Oleum was continuing to use the patented technology and associated know-how that was transferred as a part of the 2005 license. Deetz then moved to disqualify Rust-Oleum’s litigation counsel, saying that his role in negotiating the 2005 license renders him a likely necessary witness, which would leave him unable to serve as counsel at trial. Judge Hillman denied the motion, noting that Deetz had not put forth any evidence beyond conclusory statements that the attorney was actually involved in the negotiations. Further, as it appeared that the negotiations were primarily (if not entirely) between Deetz and a Rust-Oleum employee, both of whom who would be available to testify. Absent some argument (not presented by Deetz) that the attorney held some unique knowledge that the other two could not provide, the attorney’s testimony would not be “necessary,” but would rather likely be cumulative. Accordingly, Deetz did not satisfy the burden of demonstrating that the attorney was likely to be a necessary witness.