For all of the ink spilled on Choose Alan Albright’s dealing with of switch motions, in addition to the Federal Circuit’s dealing with of his switch choices on mandamus, it might be a mistake to offer his substantive choices on different areas of patent legislation quick shrift. For one, he stays the district court docket choose with the heaviest patent docket. Furthermore, most of the instances that have been filed across the time of his elevation to the bench are actually reaching crucial pretrial and trial milestones, elevating the stakes on most of the choices he’s reaching now. These fascinated with monitoring developments in patent legislation, due to this fact, should proceed to deal with choices popping out of Albright’s court docket — particularly people who present perception into his views on crucial patent points apart from the well-trodden switch path.
For instance, savvy observers of Albright have been handled on the finish of 2021 to a set of selections on Alice points. Within the first case, Albright granted abstract judgment in favor of Fb, discovering that the asserted patent was ineligible underneath Alice. What caught the attention of many was that Albright reached that call on the eve of trial, suggesting that Alice danger was borne by patentees even deep right into a case in his court docket. In one other resolution, Albright granted a movement to dismiss with go away to amend in favor of Intel, offering an instance of early stage Alice challenges having success in his court docket as effectively. Along with the timing, the choice within the Intel case additionally laid out Albright’s method towards reconciling the morass of Federal Circuit steerage on Alice, making this set of selections a must-consider for litigants in his courtroom.
Whereas Alice is all the time an fascinating side of recent patent litigation, judicial dialogue of damages points might be of much more worth, notably for litigation funders and their patentee funding beneficiaries. In in the present day’s age, the place third-party funded patent instances could represent the vast majority of patent disputes that progress towards trial, each litigants and funders alike are eager to introduce some certainty to maybe probably the most inherently unsure side of patent legislation — damages. Add in Albright’s share of funded (and all) patent instances to that shortage of printed opinions and shut research of his damages opinions is warranted. But, regardless of the variety of patent instances on his docket, visibility into Albright’s therapy of damages points has been restricted so far. Fortunately, we now have a major resolution to guage.
On February 24, 2022, Albright granted a movement to strike and a movement to exclude the opinions of the damages skilled for a nonpracticing entity that was imposing IBM-sourced patents towards well-known DJI-branded drone maker SZ DJI Expertise. Each of Albright’s choices centered on a key error made by the damages skilled early within the skilled discovery course of.
The patentee’s damages skilled’s unique sin in his opening report was setting the hypothetical negotiation between the plaintiff and DJI, not between IBM and DJI. As soon as his mistake was known as out by the rebuttal skilled, the plaintiff had him submit a supplemental report — which got here up with the identical damages numbers regardless of the change in licensor on the hypothetical negotiation. DJI moved to have his opinion thrown out. Albright agreed, each by way of the movement to strike the supplemental report, in addition to with respect to DJI’s Daubert movement.
On the movement to strike, Albright pointed to the truth that the supplemental report was extra of a do-over than supplementing a previous opinion. Furthermore, it was filed late and thus was an premature new opinion as effectively. Apparently, Albright identified that as a result of a damages skilled isn’t crucial for an award of affordable royalty damages, the upcoming trial within the case may go on even with out the patentee’s damages skilled in a position to testify. That truth, coupled with the apparent prejudice to DJI primarily based on the plaintiff’s premature submitting, in addition to the necessity to get the case tried, led to the placing of the supplemental report.
With the supplemental report stricken, Albright turned as to whether the unique report handed muster underneath Daubert — and concluded that it didn’t. As a result of the evaluation of the related damages components was made between the unsuitable events to the hypothetical negotiation, Albright dominated that the plaintiff had forfeited its proper to depend on its opening damages report. Briefly, setting the negotiation between the unsuitable events was sufficient to render the skilled’s opinion unreliable.
In the end, this resolution from Albright is value consideration on quite a lot of fronts. First, it exhibits Albright’s continued willingness to make case-altering rulings on the eve of trial, maybe serving as warning to litigants earlier than him to settle earlier than they lose management over the results of their case. Second, it offers us a sign that Albright will brook no shortcuts in the case of a plaintiff presenting its damages case, which is usually a explicit problem for nonpracticing entities showing earlier than him. Lastly, it reinforces that in the case of the deserves, now we have additional proof that Albright is simply as more likely to rule for the defendant on a key problem as he’s for the patentee. For the legions of litigants earlier than him, this resolution serves discover that Albright is simply as able to a surgical drone strike on damages as he’s on some other main patent problem.
Please be at liberty to ship feedback or inquiries to me at email@example.com or by way of Twitter: @gkroub. Any matter recommendations or ideas are most welcome.
Gaston Kroub lives in Brooklyn and is a founding companion of Kroub, Silbersher & Kolmykov PLLC, an mental property litigation boutique, and Markman Advisors LLC, a number one consultancy on patent points for the funding neighborhood. Gaston’s follow focuses on mental property litigation and associated counseling, with a powerful deal with patent issues. You’ll be able to attain him at firstname.lastname@example.org or observe him on Twitter: @gkroub.