United States District Court, D. Delaware
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
F. BATAILLON SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the court on plaintiff Godo Kaisha IP Bridge
1's (“IP Bridge”) objections, D.I. 294/300
(redacted), to the order of the Magistrate Judge,
see D.I. 305/306 (redacted), Declaration of Benjamin
J. Schladweiler (“Schladweiler Aff.”), Exhibit
(“Ex.”) 1, Transcript of Hearing dated Aug. 23,
2017 (Sealed) (“Aug 23, 2017, H'rg Tr.”),
granting TCL Communication Technology Holdings Limited, TCL
Mobile Limited, TCL Mobile (US), Inc., and TCT Mobile,
Inc.'s (collectively “defendants”) motion to
compel the production of expert reports and deposition
transcripts regarding damages from Godo Kaisha IP Bridge
1 v. Broadcom Ltd. et al., No. 2:16-cv-00134 (E.D. Tex.)
(“the Broadcom litigation”),
See D.I. 272, joint motion for teleconference; D.I.
281, plaintiff's letter on discovery disputes; D.I. 282,
defendants' letter on discovery disputes.
an action for patent infringement. IP Bridge asserts
infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 7, 373, 295; 8, 351, 538;
and 8, 385, 239 (the “Patents-in-Suit”) by
TCL's sales of mobile phones and tablets in the United
States and seeks as relief, among other things, a reasonable
royalty for TCL's infringement. The Patents-in-Suit
relate to mobile telecommunication technology for
transmitting data over the air.
district court may refer a nondispositive motion to a
magistrate judge ‘to hear and determine, '”
under subparagraph (A) of § 636(b)(1). EEOC v. City
of Long Branch, 866 F.3d 93, 99 (3d Cir. 2017) (quoting
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A)). Following a magistrate
judge's issuance of an order on a nondispositive matter,
the parties may serve and file objections to the order within
14 days of being served with a copy of the order.
Id.; see Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a).
“If a party objects to a magistrate judge's order
regarding a nondispositive matter, the district court
‘must consider timely objections and modify or set
aside any part of the order that is clearly erroneous or is
contrary to law.'” EEOC, 866 F.3d at 99
(quoting 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A)). “This standard
requires the District Court to review findings of fact for
clear error and to review matters of law de novo.”
finding of fact can be set aside as clearly erroneous when
the reviewing court is “left with the definite and firm
conviction that a mistake has been committed.”
Green v. Fornario, 486 F.3d 100, 104 (3d Cir.
2007). The district court must accept the ultimate
factual determination of the fact-finder unless that
determination either (1) is completely devoid of minimum
evidentiary support displaying some hue of credibility, or
(2) bears no rational relationship to the supportive
evidentiary data. Giles v. Kearney, 571 F.3d 318,
322 (3d Cir. 2009).
Bridge objects to the Magistrate Judge's finding that the
“expert reports and deposition transcripts relating to
damages” from the Broadcom litigation are relevant and
discoverable in this litigation. The Magistrate Judge found
defendants had made a sufficient showing as to the relevance
of the requested Broadcom litigation materials and found that
such relief is proportional to the needs of the case. D.I.
305, Schladweiler Decl., Ex. 1, Aug. 23, 2017, Hr'g Tr.
at 82. She relied in part on her reasoning in her order
compelling the production by defendants of similar materials
in another case involving a similar patent, Ericsson v.
TCL. Id. at 48-52; see also D.I. 305,
Schladweiler Decl., Ex. 2, Transcript of Hearing dated Feb.
1, 2017, at 22-30.
Bridge argues that the finding is clearly
erroneous. It contends the Broadcom case involved
completely unrelated technology and the damages materials in
the Broadcom case are irrelevant here. In response,
defendants argue that the materials are relevant to issues of
licensing and royalties.
court finds the Magistrate Judge's decision is not
clearly erroneous. Based on her familiarity with this case,
the Magistrate Judge committed no clear error in determining
that the damages materials from the Broadcom
litigation involve issues relevant to this case. The court
agrees that IP Bridge confuses discoverability with
admissibility. For purposes of discovery, relevancy is
broadly construed. See Pacitti v.
Macy's, 193 F.3d 766, 777-78 (3d Cir. 1999) (stating
“It is well recognized that the federal rules allow
broad and liberal discovery.”).
expert reports and depositions materials appear tangentially
relevant to IP Bridge's licensing and valuation
practices. Patents at issue do not need to be identical to
provide a broad understanding of a company's licensing
practices. See, e.g., High Point SARL v. Sprint
Nextel Corp., No. CIV.A. 09-2269-CM, 2012 WL 1533213, at
*8 (D. Kan. Apr. 30, 2012). Comparable patents may be of
assistance in determining a reasonable royalty rate. See
Trading Techs. Int'l, Inc. v. eSpeed, Inc., No. 04 C
5312, 2007 WL 704525, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 1,
2007). If the patents at issue are not comparable
and will not give any indication of what the patents-in-suit
would be worth, they will not carry weight in the final
determination. Id. (noting that the parties
resisting discovery were “getting ahead of
themselves” and that “[w]e are currently dealing
with discovery, not the admission or weight of any
evidence[.]”). “A different standard exists for
discoverability of other comparable patent licenses and the
ultimate admissibility and weight to be given to the licenses
at trial.” High Point SARL, 2012 WL 1533213, at *8.
Bridge raises the argument to this court that production of
the materials is overly burdensome. The court finds IP Bridge
has not shown that the burden imposed on it by the
defendants' request to produce Broadcom
litigation materials is any greater than the burden faced by
the defendants in producing the Ericsson litigation
materials. A review of thousands of pages of documents is not
out of the ordinary for cases of this nature. Accordingly,
the plaintiff's objection to the Magistrate Judge's
ruling will be denied.
Plaintiff Godo Kaisha IP Bridge's Objection (D.I.
294/300) to Magistrate Judge's Order (D.I. 305, Ex. 1)
compelling the production of Broadcom litigation materials is
Defendants TCT Communication Technology Holdings, Limited,
TCT Mobile Limited, TCT Mobile (US) and TCT Mobile,
Inc.'s Motion to compel the production of ...