This article reviews two April 2021 notices from the Eastern District of Texas ruling on post-trial motions. The first case concerns the refusal to award aggravated damages by the Honorable Amos L. Mazzant, III. In the second case, the Honorable J. Rodney Gilstrap dismissed the defendants’ motions to rule on non-infringement law and to vary the court’s findings of unfair misconduct.
Wapp Tech Ltd. partnership v Seattle SpinCo, Inc., N ° 4: 18-CV-469, 2021 WL 1574714 (ED Tex. April 22, 2021)
In March 2021, Judge Mazzant held a jury trial Wapp. During the trial, the court allowed Wapp’s motion as a question of law that defendant Micro Focus failed to present substantial evidence of invalidity of the patent. The jury then returned a verdict of violation and “awarded Wapp $ 172,554,269 after about two and a half hours of deliberation” – “potentially the biggest verdict in the history of [the Sherman division] court.” Identifier. at * 1, * 4. The jury also found that Micro Focus willfully infringed each claimed patent. Identifier. to 1.
After the trial, Wapp argued that she was entitled to aggravated damages under 35 USC § 284. Identifier. Wapp pointed out Micro Focus’s disability case during the trial. Identifier. at 2 hours. Micro Focus’s attorney admitted that Micro Focus failed to present anticipatory, obvious, and empowering evidence because time had passed during the trial. Identifier. to * 1, * 3. Although Micro Focus argued that the jury should decide its defense of written description, the court ultimately awarded Wapp’s JMOL, and none of Micro Focus’s invalidity arguments were presented. to the jury. Identifier. to 1.
Judge Mazzant disputed that Micro Focus’s “mismanagement of time” during the trial amounted to “inherent insufficiency” that merited increased damages under Section 284. Identifier. at * 2- * 3. The court noted that Wapp never decided to completely exclude the disability expert from Micro Focus, nor did Micro Focus seek a summary judgment of disability. Identifier. at 2 hours. And the court noted that even though the jury did not rule on invalidity, Micro Focus’s non-infringement defenses were sent to the jury. Identifier. to 3. As part of a “holistic” approach and “consider[ing] all circumstances of this case ”, the court concluded that increased damages were not warranted. Identifier. (“[E]The analysis of enhanced damages is inherently holistic and the district court exercises considerable discretion. “). The court also noted that the award marked a “finding of significant liability” in which “[f]another punishment ”was not necessary.
Vocalife LLC, v Amazon.com, Inc., No 2: 19-CV-00123-JRG, 2021 WL 1401434 (ED Tex. 14 Apr. 2021)
Justice Gilstrap held a jury trial in Vocalife in October 2020. Identifier. to 1. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff Vocalife on infringement and invalidity. Defendant Amazon subsequently filed (1) a non-infringement judgment and (2) a motion to vary the court’s findings on unfair conduct. The court rejected both requests.
(1) Judgment in law
Amazon’s JMOL on Induced Infringement argued that Vocalife failed to present substantial evidence on Amazon’s intention to induce an infringement and the direct infringement of the Amazon customer. Identifier. at 2 hours. Amazon’s knowledge of the claimed patent was purposely limited to the date the complaint was filed. Identifier. to 3. According to the court, substantial evidence showed Amazon’s intention to cause an infringement because “[e]evidence has been presented showing that Amazon has instructed its customers to use [the accused] illicitly produced. ” Identifier.
Regarding direct infringement, the court looked at six limitations that Amazon argued that Vocalife failed to show Amazon customers the performance. Identifier. to * 4-9. On each of these points, the court recounted the testimony of the Vocalife expert according to which the limitation of the claim was respected. Identifier.
(2) Motion to Vary Findings of Unfair Conduct
Amazon also asked the court to vary its findings or make additional findings on Amazon’s allegations of unfair conduct under Rules 52 (b), 59 (e) and 60 (a). Identifier. at * 9-10. Amazon’s evidence on these allegations included “the prosecutor’s submission of a reissue statement without checking a box indicating that the reissue request was for an extended reissue,” which Amazon said “was a false statement and a element of patentability ”. Identifier. at 10. In its motion for amendment or additional findings, Amazon asked the court to reconsider its judgment finding no unfair conduct, which did not discuss Amazon’s argument over the reissue statement. Identifier.
The court rejected Amazon’s motion for amendment or additional conclusions. Identifier. The court noted that its recognition in its judgment that the defective reissue statement supported the opinions of the Amazon expert. Identifier. The flawed statements notwithstanding, the court found that Amazon had failed to prove its intention to deceive the Patent Office. Identifier. The court also noted that its judgment did not need to specifically discuss all of Amazon’s evidence as the basis for the court’s findings. Identifier.