Judge: Chad Everingham
Holding: Motions for judgment as a matter of law granted as to willfulness; denied on other issues
This spring plaintiff OPTi obtained a jury verdict of infringement and willful infringement from a Marshall jury in Judge Everingham's court, with damages set at $19,009,728. Today Judge Everingham ruled on the various postverdict motions.
Apple’s motion for judgment as a matter of law on willfulness was granted, its motions on damages and its enablement and prior art invalidity defenses were denied, and OPTi's motion for entry of judgment was granted in part. (Its motion for enhanced damages was denied as moot).
On the willfulness motion, Judge Everingham echoed (quoted, actually) Judge Ward's detailed ruling two months ago setting aside the willful infringement finding in Centocor v. Abbott, writing that "because 'the issues of infringement and validity were hotly contested, close, and required an intensely factual inquiry,' the court finds that there was no objectively high likelihood of infringement. See Centocor, Inc. v. Abbott Labs., No. 2:07-CV-139, Dkt. No. 326 at 6 (E.D. Tex. Oct. 1, 2009) (Ward, J.)." (Note: to all the lawyers I'm local counsel for, do you see something here that I frequently suggest you include in your briefing?)
The judgment issued today for a reasonable royalty of $19,009,728 and $2,696,974 in prejudgment interest for a total award of $21,706,702, plus court costs and future interest. The court concluded that the case was not exceptional under 35 U.S.C. § 285 and denied any attorneys’ fees request.
Incidentally, this is same song, fourth verse on claims on willful infringement in recent months - willful infringement verdict set aside in Centocor, willful infringement not found by jury in Retractable Technologies, summary judgment granted on willful infringement claim in Crane... I don't mean to imply that the decisions either declining to submit willful, juries not finding it, or courts setting it aside are unanimous, even recently (see Abstrax), but there are a lot of them recently for those with an interest to review. Why might that be of interest? Because it provides a set of court decisions by the same (or substantially similar) judges with prior experience in this aspect of the law applying the relevant law at the same point in time (i.e. before Congress, the Federal Circuit, or the Supreme Court change it) to different factual and procedural situations. It's sort of an exploded reverse version of the Socratic method where parties repeatedly ask the Court to rule these claims in or out under different fact patterns. That's one reason I keep posting the links to these recent opinions - because it's helpful (to me at least) to reread Judge Everingham and Judge Ward's holdings in the different cases. To borrow a scientific term, we've controlled for the judge and the law - so the different results must be due to the facts, highlighting which facts may be significant.