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Godo Kaisha IP Bridge 1 v. TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

October 24, 2018

GODO KAISHA IP BRIDGE 1, Plaintiff,
v.
TCL COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY HOLDINGS LIMITED, a Chinese Corporation, TCT MOBILE -LIMITED, a Hong Kong Corporation, TCT MOBILE US, INC., a Delaware Corporation, and TCT MOBILE, INC., a Delaware Corporation, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Joseph F. Bataillon, Senior United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court on the parties' motions in limine (D.I. 430-3, D.I. 430-4, D.I. 430-5, D.I. 430-6, D.I. 430-7 and D.I. 430-8). This is an action for patent infringement that is set for trial on October 30, 2018.

         I. LAW

         Although the motion in limine is an important tool available to the trial judge to ensure the expeditious and evenhanded management of the trial proceedings, performing a gatekeeping function and sharpening the focus for later trial proceedings, some evidentiary submissions, cannot be evaluated accurately or sufficiently by the trial judge in such a procedural environment. Jonasson v. Lutheran Child and Family Servs., 115 F.3d 436, 440 (7th Cir. 1997). A motion in limine is appropriate for “evidentiary submissions that clearly ought not be presented to the jury because they clearly would be inadmissible for any purpose.” Id. In other instances, it is necessary to defer ruling until during trial, when the trial judge can better estimate the impact of the evidence on the jury. Id. “Evidentiary rulings made by a trial court during motions in limine are preliminary and may change depending on what actually happens at trial.” Walzer v. St. Joseph State Hosp., 231 F.3d 1108, 1113 (8th Cir. 2000); see also Leonard v. Stemtech Health Scis., Inc., 981 F.Supp.2d 273, 276 (D. Del. 2013). (noting that evidentiary rulings, especially those that encompass broad classes of evidence, should generally be deferred until trial to allow for the resolution of questions of foundation, relevancy, and potential prejudice in proper context). To the extent that a party challenges the probative value of the evidence, an attack upon the probative sufficiency of evidence relates not to admissibility but to the weight of the evidence and is a matter for the trier of fact to resolve. United States v. Beasley, 102 F.3d 1440, 1451(8th Cir. 1996).

         II. PLAINTIFF IP BRIDGE'S MOTIONS

A. NO. 1: MOTION IN LIMINE TO EXCLUDE ANY ARGUMENT, TESTIMONY, EVIDENCE, REFERENCE, OR SUGGESTION REGARDING ANY ISSUE, CLAIM, CAUSE OF ACTION, OR FORM OF RELIEF THAT (1) IS NO LONGER PART OF THE CASE, (2) HAS BEEN DECIDED BY THE COURT, OR (3) IS TO BE DECIDED BY THE COURT, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE VALIDITY OF ANY CLAIM OF U.S. PATENT NO. 7, 373, 295, PANASONIC'S STATUS AS AN IMPROPERLY JOINED PARTY, TCL'S NOW-DISMISSED ANTITRUST CLAIMS AGAINST IP BRIDGE AND/OR PANASONIC, CLAIM CONSTRUCTION, AND SUMMARY JUDGMENT (D.I. 430-3, Pretrial Order (“PTO”) Ex. 18)

         1. '295 patent

         IP Bridge argues that because IP Bridge is no longer asserting infringement of the '295 patent, reference to the '295 patent would prejudice IP Bridge to an extent far outweighed by any potential probative value under Federal Rules of Evidence 403. TCL refers to IP Bridge's expert, Dr. Kennedy's testimony that the fact that the Asserted patents were chosen for assertion places them in a small group of LTE SEP's across the industry and makes them particularly valuable, and argues that TCL should be permitted to reference the invalidity of the '295 patent to rebut any inference that IP Bridge's assertion of a claim makes it particularly valuable and to show a good faith belief of invalidity.

         The Court agrees with the plaintiff that the evidence is largely irrelevant and any potential relevance is outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice and confusion. Accordingly, the motion is granted, subject to reconsideration if necessary on cross-examination or in rebuttal. The defendant is advised to alert the Court in advance of the offer of any such evidence.

         2. Panasonic

         The plaintiff contends any reference to Panasonic's status as an improperly joined party or to the dismissed counterclaims should be excluded because these issues are no longer part of this case. TCL states that it does not intend to refer to antitrust claims previously asserted against IP Bridge and Panasonic, or to Panasonic as a former party to the case. Accordingly, this motion is denied as moot.

         3. Claim Construction

         IP Bridge argues that any argument and testimony that is inconsistent with the Court's claim construction (or that questions or disparages it) should be precluded because claim construction is a legal issue for the court, not the jury. The defendant essentially concedes. Accordingly, the motion is granted to the extent that any argument ...


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