A Tyler jury in Judge Rodney Gilstrap's court returned a noninfringement verdict in favor of defendant Friday afternoon in a case involving expandable interveterbral implants (I didn't check to see if Dr. Octavius was the inventor or just another piece of prior art). There were three claims across two patents.
The case has a few interesting pretrial rulings by Magistrate Judge Mitchell which were subsequently adopted by Judge Gilstrap, including a grant of summary judgment as to the plaintiff's doctrine of equivalents claims on one of the patents, with a denial on the other, as well as the grant of a motion to exclude the plaintiff's damages expert's reliance on a prior settlement agreement and after that was excluded, on the jury verdict in the same litigation.
I was also pleased to see something I was just talking about a couple of weeks ago in some brief remarks I prepared for some young lawyers with tips on motions in limine. One of my suggestions was to have a set of disputed motions in limine, with an eye towards Judge Schroeder's rule that there be no more than ten whether you're before Judge Schroeder or not, as well as a set of agreed ones, since it's not a bad thing to have a court order backing up parties' agreements (trust me on this). Judge Mitchell's order resolves the disputed ones, and then includes the agreed topics so everyone has a handy reference as to what's in and what's out.
That's not just for us OCD types - I have been in trials where a lawyer who was brought in late in the game to try a case saw the court's rulings on the disputed motions, but blew right through an agreed one, probably because the only place it was memorialized was in correspondence or perhaps the pretrial conference (which the lawyer wasn't present for) transcript. When questioned by the judge, the lawyer admitted as much, and the judge docked his client's time at trial fifteen minutes. When you only have 11-13 hours a side (I can't remember what we had there, but it was probably 13 and this was halfway through the evidence) and time for each witness is carefully budgeted, that's a painful loss. So including it in an order, as Judge Mitchell did, is a very helpful way to make sure that everyone is one the same page - literally.