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AVM Technologies LLC v. Intel Corp.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

April 28, 2017

AVM TECHNOLOGIES, LLC, Plaintiff;
v.
INTEL CORPORATION, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM ORDER

         Presently before the Court is Plaintiffs Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and to Exclude Testimony of Peter Ivey Regarding Invalidity Based on the Pentium Pro ("P6") (D.I. 433) and related briefing (D.I. 434, 506, 536).[1] The Court heard oral argument on April 12, 2017. For the reasons that follow, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT Plaintiffs Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and to Exclude Testimony of Peter Ivey (D.I. 433) is DENIED.

         A. Motion to Exclude Expert Testimony

         "[T]he district court acts as a gatekeeper" to ensure that expert testimony is reliable and helpful. Schneider v. Fried, 320 F.3d 396, 404 (3rd Cir. 2003). "The primary locus of this obligation is [Federal Rule of Evidence] 702." Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharma., Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 589(1993). It reads:

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.

         Rule 702, as amended in 2000, codified the Supreme Court's holding in Daubert. Daubert imposes a "trilogy" of requirements: (1) qualification, (2) reliability, and (3) fit. Schneider, 320 F.3d at 404. My determination that proffered testimony complies with these prerequisites is governed by Federal Rule of Evidence 104(a). Daubert, 509 U.S. at 592. As such, I must find Daubert's trilogy of requirements is met by a preponderance of the evidence. In re Paoli R.R. Yard PCB Litig., 35 F.3d 717, 744 (3rd Cir. 1994).

         On the one hand, this showing requires the party proffering expert testimony do more than make a. prima facie case of reliability. Id. at 743. On the other hand, the "evidentiary requirement of reliability is lower than the merits standard of correctness." Id. The proffering party does not "have to prove their case twice-they do not have to demonstrate to the judge by a preponderance of the evidence that the assessments of their experts are correct, they only have to demonstrate by a preponderance of evidence that their opinions are reliable." Id. at 744.

         Plaintiffs objections to Dr. Ivey's testimony fall within the reliability prong of the Daubert trilogy. Under this prong, "an expert's testimony is admissible so long as the process or technique the expert used in formulating the opinion is reliable." Paoli, 35 F.3d at 742. Reliability does not require certainty, Daubert, 509 U.S. at 590, but does require "validity, " Paoli, 35 F.3d at 742. The Third Circuit has warned, however, that "the reliability requirement must not be used as a tool by which the court excludes all questionably reliable evidence." Id. at 744. An expert's opinion must be founded on good grounds, not perfect ones. Id. I can conclude there are good grounds for the opinion even if I "think[] there are better grounds for some alternative conclusion" or that the expert's methodology "has some flaws such that if they had been corrected, the scientist would have reached a different result." Id. The Third Circuit has directed that a "judge frequently should find an expert's methodology helpful even when the judge thinks that the expert's technique has flaws sufficient to render the conclusions inaccurate." Id. at 744-15.

         Plaintiff argues first that Dr. Ivey's opinion as to whether the P6 anticipates the asserted claims is unreliable because he relied on "uncorroborated statements" made by "an Intel engineer and former engineer/paid consultant." (D.I. 434 at 22). Defendant counters that Dr. Ivey did corroborate the statements to which Plaintiff objects through his review of "P6 schematics, design manuals, and timing diagrams" combined with his experience as a person of skill in the art. (D.I. 506 at 16). Plaintiff does not respond to this rebuttal, instead arguing in reply that the engineer/consultant, upon whose statement Ivey relied, did not review all of the schematics for the register files. (D.I. 536 at 10). In other words, the testimony to which Plaintiff objects is that of the engineer and, therefore, Dr. Ivey's purported reliance on this testimony. Since Dr. Ivey did, in fact, rely on more than just this engineer's testimony, it seems to me that Plaintiffs objection goes to whether Dr. Ivey's conclusions are correct, not whether they are reliable. This is not a case, as Plaintiff suggests, where the expert performed no independent analysis of his own. (D.I. 434 at 22).

         Plaintiff next argues that Dr. Ivey's anticipation opinion is "conclusory" in nature. (D.I. 434 at 22). Plaintiff asserts that Dr. Ivey did not perform an element-by-element analysis showing that the P6 practices every claim limitation. (Id.). Plaintiff further asserts that Dr. Ivey's failure to identify the circuits he relies on and the amount of contention in those circuits renders his opinion unreliable. (Id.). Defendant counters by pointing to "a detailed claim chart with a limitation-by-limitation analysis" provided by Dr. Ivey as well as evidence in the record that the circuit Dr. Ivey relied on is representative of the topology of register files in general. (D.I. 506 at ...


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