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MiiCs & Partners America Inc. v. Funai Electric Co. Ltd.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

December 7, 2017

MiiCs & PARTNERS, INC., et al., Plaintiffs,
FUNAI ELECTRIC CO., LTD., et al., Defendants. SAMSUNG DISPLAY CO., LTD., Intervenor.


         Presently before the Court are Defendants' Joint Motion to Exclude the Testimony of Damages Expert Scott D. Hampton (D.I. 379) and Plaintiffs' Motion to Exclude the Expert Report and Testimony of Ryan Sullivan (D.I. 383). I have considered the parties' briefing. (D.I. 380; 431; 461; 384; 432; 455; 533; 534; 537). I held oral argument on Defendants' motion in the related civil case, No. 14-803, on October 18, 2017. (Civ. Act. No. 14-803, D.I. 573). I held oral argument on Plaintiffs' motion on November 16, 2017. (D.I. 535).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs MiiCs & Partners, America, Inc. and Gold Charm Ltd. filed this patent infringement action against Defendants Funai Electric, Ltd., P&F USA, Inc., and Funai Corp., Inc. on June 24, 2014. (D.I. 1). With the Court's permission, Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on March 31, 2015, in which they asserted additional patents. (D.I. 38). On August 11, 2015, this Court stayed the case pending inter partes review before the PTAB. (D.I. 84). After Plaintiffs agreed to withdraw certain patents on which the PTAB instituted IPRs, the Court lifted the stay on March 31, 2016. (D.I. 117). On June 15, 2016, the Court granted Samsung Display Co.'s motion to intervene. (D.I. 160).

         The remaining patents-at-issue are U.S. Patent Nos. 6, 211, 534 ("the '534 patent") and 6, 734, 927 ("the '927 patent"). (See D.I. 548; 550). In light of my Memorandum Order of December 1, 2017 (D.I. 550), Samsung is no longer in the case.


         Federal Rule of Evidence 702 sets out the requirements for expert witness testimony and states:

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]


         A. Scott Hampton

         Defendants move to exclude the testimony of Mr. Hampton on the grounds that his royalty rate does not fit the facts of this case, is not based on a reliable methodology, and overestimates the value of the asserted patents. (See generally D.I. 380; D.I. 533 (setting forth Defendants' objections to Mr. Hampton's November 13th updated expert report)). More specifically, Defendants object to Mr. Hampton's (1) starting point assumptions, (2) Georgia-Pacific analysis, (3) use of a composite royalty rate, and (4) use of one hypothetical negotiation date.

         1. Starting ...

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