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Delaware Display Group LLC v. Vizio Inc.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

March 1, 2017

VIZIO, INC., Defendant.

          Brian E. Farnan, Esq., Michael J. Farnan, Esq., FARNAN LLP, Wilmington, Delaware; Jeffrey R. Bragalone, Esq., Patrick J. Conroy, Esq., Justin B. Kimble, Esq. (argued), Daniel F. Olejko, Esq., T. William Kennedy, Jr., Esq. (argued), James R. Perkins, Esq. (argued), BRAGALONE & CONROY LLP, Dallas, Texas.

          Attorneys for Plaintiffs Pilar G. Kraman, Esq., YOUNG, CONAWAY, STARGATT & TAYLOR, Wilmington, Delaware; Jason C. Lo, Esq. (argued), Raymond A. LaMagna, Esq. (argued), GIBSON, DUNN & CRUTCHER LLP, Los Angeles, California. Attorneys for Defendant



         The Plaintiffs are Delaware Display Group LLC and Innovative Display Technologies LLC. The Defendant is VIZIO, Inc. On January 10, 2017, the Plaintiffs and Defendant submitted a Joint Status Report identifying motions that require decision. (D.I. 364). This memorandum addresses the following summary judgment motions identified in that Report: (1) Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment of Non-Enablement and Written Description (D.I. 274); (2) Defendant's Motion to Exclude Expert Testimony of Dr. Frederic Kahn on the Issues of Non-Enablement and Written Description (D.I. 275); (3) Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment of Non-Infringement of U.S. Patent No. 7, 537, 370 (D.I. 278); (4) Plaintiffs' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (on VIZIO's § 112 Enablement/Written Description Defense) (D.I. 280); (5) Plaintiffs' Motion to Strike VIZIO's Opinions Related to Alleged Non-Infringing Alternatives (D.I. 284); and (6) Plaintiffs' Motion to Exclude Testimony Relating to the Expert Reports of Richard A. Flasck (D.I. 287). The parties fully briefed these motions. I held oral argument on February 13, 2017. (D.I. 379 ("Tr.")).


         A. Motion for Summary Judgment

         "The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party has the initial burden of proving the absence of a genuinely disputed material fact relative to the claims in question. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 330 (1986). Material facts are those "that could affect the outcome" of the proceeding, and "a dispute about a material fact is 'genuine' if the evidence is sufficient to permit a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the non-moving party." Lamont v. New Jersey, 637 F.3d 177, 181 (3d Cir. 2011). The burden on the moving party may be discharged by pointing out to the district court that there is an absence of evidence supporting the non-moving party's case. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323.

         The burden then shifts to the non-movant to demonstrate the existence of a genuine issue for trial. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986); Williams v. Borough of West Chester, Pa., 891 F.2d 458, 460-61 (3d Cir. 1989). A non-moving party asserting that a fact is genuinely disputed must support such an assertion by: "(A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations . . ., admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials; or (B) showing that the materials cited [by the opposing party] do not establish the absence ... of a genuine dispute ...." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1).

         When determining whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, the court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007); Wishkin v. Potter, 476 F.3d 180, 184 (3d Cir. 2007). A dispute is "genuine" only if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-49. If the non-moving party fails to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of its case with respect to which it has the burden of proof, the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322.

         B. Motion to Strike

         Federal Rule of Evidence 702 sets out the requirements for expert witness testimony, stating that:

A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if: (a) the expert's scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue; (b) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data; (c) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and (d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of the case.

         Fed. R. Evid. 702. The Third Circuit has explained:

Rule 702 embodies a trilogy of restrictions on expert testimony: qualification, reliability and fit. Qualification refers to the requirement that the witness possess specialized expertise. We have interpreted this requirement liberally, holding that "a broad range of knowledge, skills, and training qualify an expert." Secondly, the testimony must be reliable; it "must be based on the 'methods and procedures of science' rather than on 'subjective belief or unsupported speculation'; the expert must have 'good grounds' for his o[r] her belief. In sum, Daubert holds that an inquiry into the reliability of scientific evidence under Rule 702 requires a determination as to its scientific validity." Finally, Rule 702 requires that the expert testimony must fit the issues in the case. In other words, the expert's testimony must be relevant for the purposes of the case and must assist the trier of fact. The Supreme Court explained in Daubert that "Rule 702's 'helpfulness' standard requires a valid scientific connection to the pertinent inquiry as a precondition to admissibility."
By means of a so-called "Daubert hearing, " the district court acts as a gatekeeper, preventing opinion testimony that does not meet the requirements of qualification, reliability and fit from reaching the jury. See Daubert ("Faced with a proffer of expert scientific testimony, then, the trial judge must determine at the outset, pursuant to Rule 104(a) [of the Federal Rules of Evidence] whether the expert is proposing to testify to (1) scientific knowledge that (2) will assist the trier of fact to understand or determine a fact in issue.").

         Schneider ex rel. Estate of Schneider v. Fried, 320 F.3d 396, 404-05 (3d Cir. 2003) (footnote and internal citations omitted).[1] The proponent of expert testimony must "demonstrate by a preponderance of evidence that the [expert's] opinions are reliable." In re Paoli R.R. Yard PCB Litig., 35 F.3d 717, 744 (3d Cir. 1994).

         II. ...

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