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Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation v. Power Integrations, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

April 24, 2015



LEONARD P. STARK, District Judge.

At Wilmington this 24th day of April, 2015,


A. Fairchild's Motion for Reargument

Plaintiffs Fairchild Semiconductor Corp. and Fairchild (Taiwan) Corp.'s ("Fairchild") Motion for Reargument (D.I. 299) is DENIED.

Pursuant to Local Rule 7.1.5, a motion for reconsideration or reargument should be granted only "sparingly." The decision to grant such a motion lies squarely within the discretion of the district court. See Dentsply Int'l, Inc. v. Kerr Mfg. Co., 42 F.Supp.2d 385, 419 (D. Del. 1999); Brambles USA, Inc. v. Blocker, 735 F.Supp. 1239, 1241 (D. Del. 1990). These types of motions are granted only if the Court has patently misunderstood a party, made a decision outside the adversarial issues presented by the parties, or made an error not of reasoning but of apprehension. See Schering Corp. v. Amgen, Inc., 25 F.Supp.2d 293, 295 (D. Del. 1998); Brambles, 735 F.Supp. at 1241. "A motion for reconsideration is not properly grounded on a request that a court rethink a decision already made." Smith v. Meyers, 2009 WL 5195928, at *1 (D. Del. Dec. 30, 2009); see also Glendon Energy Co. v. Borough of Glendon, 836 F.Supp. 1109, 1122 (E.D. Pa. 1993). It is not an opportunity to "accomplish repetition of arguments that were or should have been presented to the court previously." Karr v. Castle, 768 F.Supp. 1087, 1093 (D. Del. 1991).

A party may seek reconsideration only if it can show at least one of the following: (i) there has been an intervening change in controlling law; (ii) the availability of new evidence not available when the court made its decision; or (iii) there is a need to correct a clear error of law or fact to prevent manifest injustice. See Max's Seafood Cafe by LouAnn, Inc. v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999). However, in no instance should reconsideration be granted if it would not result in amendment of an order. See Schering Corp., 25 F.Supp.2d at 295.

Fairchild's motion is directed to the Court's April 15 decision to grant summary judgment to Defendant Power Integrations, Inc. ("PI") relating to priority on PI's 457 patent. (See D.I. 295; D.I. 296) In particular, Fairchild contends that the Court's finding that PI provided proof of reasonable diligence in reducing the invention of the 457 patent to practice after conception "is based on a mistake of apprehension not supported by the law or facts." (D.I. 299 at 2) Fairchild further contends that "the greatest misapprehension of fact" is that "there is no evidence in the record to support the conclusion that Mr. Kung worked diligently on the project from the time the idea was brought to him until July 31, 2009. " (Id. at 3) (emphasis in original) Additionally, Fairchild faults the Court for relying on "speculative expert testimony and baseless attorney argument." (Id. at 7)

The Court concludes that Fairchild has failed to demonstrate that this is one of the rare circumstances in which reargument should be granted. The Court carefully reviewed the large record the parties put before it in connection with the 457 priority date issue, analyzed the briefing, and heard extensive oral argument on the issue (which assisted the Court in understanding the evidence). Having done so, and having weighed the evidence - including expert opinion as to what is demonstrated by other evidence of record, including (but not limited to) laboratory notebooks and inventor depositions - the Court concluded that no genuine dispute of fact remained and that a reasonable juror could only conclude that PI had proven, by the applicable standard, reasonable diligence. In this regard, the Court also relied on Fairchild's repeated representations that the issue could and should be resolved as a matter of law and need not be put before the jury, a position Fairchild did not retract at or after the hearing (at least until the Court issued its decision). Most of what Fairchild argues was before the Court previously and the Court will not now "rethink" its decision. See Samuel v. Carroll, 505 F.Supp.2d 256, 262 (D. Del. 2007). While Fairchild may eventually be able to show that the Court erred in its reasoning, Fairchild has failed to show that the Court clearly erred, misapprehended an issue of law or fact, or that its decision results in manifest injustice.

Accordingly, Fairchild's motion is denied.

B. Fairchild's Objections to Special Master Orders

On January 13, 2015, the Court ordered that any disputes the parties may have in preparing a form of order to implement the Court's ruling granting PI's motion to strike Fairchild's untimely contentions would be referred to a special master. (D.I. 183) At the same time, the Court indicated that "any further discovery disputes in this matter... will be referred to a special master." (Id.) As such disputes arose, the Court on January 30, 2015, appointed Allen M. Terrell, Jr., as special master. (D.I. 205) Through extensive efforts, which included reviewing briefing, expert reports, prior decisions of the Court, and hearing lengthy and repeated oral argument from the parties, the special master ultimately issued seven orders.[1] Fairchild has objected to several of the special masters' orders. For the reasons stated below, Fairchild's objections are OVERRULED and the Special Master's Orders are ADOPTED.

1. Legal Standards

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 53(f)(3), the Court "must decide de novo all objections to findings of fact made or recommended by a master." Further, the Court "must decide de novo all objections to conclusions of law made or recommended by a master." Fed.R.Civ.P. 53(f)(4). "[T]he court may set aside a master's ruling on a procedural matter only for an abuse of discretion." Fed.R.Civ.P. 53(f)(5); see also Honeywell Int'l, Inc. v. Nikon Corp., 2009 WL 577274, at* 1 (D. Del. Mar. 4, 2009). The Court "may receive evidence." Fed.R.Civ.P. 53(f)(1). After reviewing the objections according to the applicable standard of review, and following any ...

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