Local Rule

Full Disclosure: The Northern District Amends Its Local Rules to Require Early Damages-Related Disclosures

N.D. Cal. Patent Local Rules

Patent litigants in the Northern District of California will have something new to argue over following the Court’s approval in January of Patent Local Rule amendments that impose damages-related disclosure requirements. The Court also tweaked a few other patent local rules. READ MORE

A Defendant’s Understanding of Infringement Contentions Is Not Enough To Comply With The Patent Local Rules

Order Granting Motion to Strike, Staying Discovery, and Granting Leave to Amend, GeoVector Corporation v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, Case No. 16-cv02463-WHO (Judge William H. Orrick)

Albert Einstein once noted:  “Any fool can know.  The point is to understand.”  That logic was recently applied in a patent infringement case brought by GeoVector Corporation against Samsung.  GeoVector learned that the Courts of the Northern District will not accept the sufficiency of infringement contentions that the Court itself finds inscrutable and unintelligible merely because the defendant has supposedly “demonstrated an understanding” of the plaintiff’s theories. READ MORE

Mind Reading Infringement Contentions

Order Regarding Discovery Letter Briefs, InteraXon Inc. v. NeuroTek, LLC, Case No. 15-cv-05290 (Magistrate Judge Kandis A. Westmore)

InteraXon, maker of a mind reading meditation aid, is not required to read the patentee’s mind to figure out his infringement contentions.

Licensing negotiations between InteraXon and defendants fell apart sometime in the spring of 2015, prompting InteraXon to file a declaratory judgment suit for non-infringement and invalidity against defendants NeuroTek, LLC, MindWaves, Ltd. and Dr. Jonathan Cowan, an inventor of U.S. Patent No. 5,983,129. Dr. Cowan then filed a counterclaim for infringement. READ MORE

Professionally Speaking (and Behaving)

As the year comes to a close, it seems appropriate to take a look back at Northern District events that may have not received as much coverage as they should have. For example, in March, the Northern District Historical Society honored long-time practitioners in a program called “Then and Now: a Half-Century of Greatness.” One of the sentiments expressed by panelists was a perceived decline of civility among lawyers in the current “win at all cost” atmosphere. The Northern District’s formal adoption in June of Guidelines for Professional Conduct may help reverse any trend towards unnecessary hostility in litigation.

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New Civil and Patent Local Rules in N.D. Cal Effective November 1

Pursuant to new Patent Local Rule 2-1, when actions concerning the same patent are filed within two years of each other by the same plaintiff, they will be deemed related and all later-filed cases will be assigned to the judge presiding under the lowest-numbered case. If the lowest-numbered case is assigned to a magistrate judge to whom the parties in that case have consented to proceed before, the magistrate shall retain any related higher-numbered cases regardless of the parties’ consent. Thus, even suits against a different defendant are (assuming jurisdiction exists) affected by this rule.

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Ignorance is Bliss?

Netlist, Inc. v. Smart Storage Systems Inc, et al., (Case No. 13-cv-05889-YGR) (Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Corley)

When faced with speculative infringement contentions, what is the best course of action?  Not unreasonably, or so it would appear at first blush, defendant Diablo turned to Patent Local Rule 3-1, which requires a patentee to disclose with specificity the claims asserted and where in the accused product those claims are found.  Because plaintiff Netlist’s infringement contentions not only compared the asserted claims to unrelated patent applications, and self-created diagrams, but in addition used the presumptive language of “discovery is likely to show’ for over 50 claim elements, Diablo filed a discovery motion to strike the infringement contentions, arguing that it lacked proper notice under the rules.   However, as defendant Diablo also pointed out (in trying to prevail in its motion) its accused product is only a prototype and not commercially available.  Thus, Diablo contended, Netlist could not satisfy Rule 3-1 requirement of comparing the specific claims to the accused product.  As it turned out, in the context of satisfying infringement contentions, Diablo’s “non-existent” accused product argument was the undoing of its motion. READ MORE