Alexsam v. IDT, 2012-1063-1064 (Fed. Cir. 5/20/13)
Holding: Judgment of Infringement Reversed ... Except for the Part That Was a Discovery Sanction
Long time practitioners in the Eastern District of Texas will have heard it from former judge T. John Ward, as well as Chief Judge Leonard Davis, if not others. It's in reported opinions that I'm not even going to to bother looking up.
There are two ways to lose a case in the Eastern District of Texas. One is on the merits, and one is as a result of not playing by the rules in discovery. The Federal Circuit put a giant stamp of approval on that rule today in this case when it set aside the jury's verdict of infringement in this case (concluding that the plaintiff had failed to present substantial evidence that terminals had not been altered and thus JMOL of noninfringement should have been granted) but let stand the judgment of infringement with regard to one of the defendant's systems that Judge Everingham had imposed as a sanction for discovery misconduct. After reviewing the applicable Fifth Circuit standards with respect to discovery sanctions, the Federal Circuit found that all five factors supported the court's sanction, and that it was "just and fair" and "clearly bore a 'substantial relationship' to the attempted discovery."