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

United States District Court, D. Delaware

April 24, 2019

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 & ORDER

          Joseph F. Bataillon, Senior United States District Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on a motion for judgment as a matter of law filed by defendants TCL Communication Technology Holdings Limited, TCT Mobile (US), Inc., TCT Mobile Limited, and TCT Mobile, Inc. (collectively, “TCL”) (D.I. 502).[1]

         I. BACKGROUND

         TCL renews its motion for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) of noninfringement and invalidity under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50(b). This action was tried to a jury from October 30, 2018, to November 8, 2018, on IP Bridge's claim that TCL's accused mobile phone devices infringed claims 9 and 12 of U.S. Patent No. 8, 385, 239 (“the '239 patent”) and claims 15 and 16 of U.S. Patent No. 8, 351, 538 (“the '538 patent”). The jury found that TCL infringes all four asserted claims, found all four claims valid, and awarded damages in the amount of $950, 000 for both patents. D.I. 487, Jury Verdict (sealed).

         TCL first argues that a judgment of non-infringement should be granted under Rule 50(b). It contends that IP Bridge failed to prove that each and every one of the requirements of the asserted claims were met by the accused products and argues that that the narrow exception to the requirements for proving infringement carved out in Fujitsu Ltd. v. Netgear Inc., 620 F.3d 1321 (Fed. Cir. 2010), does not apply here.[2] It argues that IP Bridge showed merely that the asserted claims were essential to the LTE standard, which was never contested. It relies on the testimony of IP Bridge's expert, Dr. Paul Min, contending that he stated that an express limitation of the claims was not really required. For the '538 patent, it points to Dr. Min's testimony that there must be code somewhere that met the limitation in question (the “orthogonality” limitation) and his purported failure to identify the limitation. TCL contends Dr. Min's analysis was insufficient as a matter of law to prove literal infringement and because IP Bridge's showing of literal infringement was based only on Dr. Min's analysis, the jury's literal infringement finding verdict should be set aside and judgment should be entered in TCL's favor.

         TCL also contends that it is entitled to a judgment of invalidity of the '239 patent, arguing it proved by clear and convincing evidence that the asserted claims were obvious. It argues that IP Bridge's arguments as to the non-obviousness of the '538 patent lack merit. TCL contends that its expert's testimony regarding the scope and content of the prior art; the differences between the claimed invention and the prior art; and the level of ordinary skill in the art were unrebutted by IP Bridge and it further contends IP Bridge provided no evidence of any secondary considerations (or objective indicia) of non-obviousness. Instead, it argues that IP Bridge's arguments are insufficient as a matter of law to defeat the TCL's asserted combinations and contends a judgment of invalidity as a matter of law should be entered in TCL's favor.

         In opposition, IP Bridge argues that the jury's findings are supported by sufficient evidence.

         II. LAW

         A. Standard of Review

         The law of the regional circuit-here the Third Circuit-governs the standards for deciding motions for JMOL under Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(b) and new trial under Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(a). See WBIP, LLC v. Kohler Co., 829 F.3d 1317, 1325 (Fed. Cir. 2016); Leader Techs., Inc. v. Facebook, Inc., 678 F.3d 1300, 1305 (Fed. Cir. 2012). Under Rule 50(b), in ruling on a renewed motion, “the court may: (1) allow judgment on the verdict, if the jury returned a verdict; (2) order a new trial; or (3) direct the entry of judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(b). A judgment as a matter of law is appropriate when “the verdict is not supported by legally sufficient evidence.” Lightning Lube, Inc. v. Witco Corp., 4 F.3d 1153, 1166 (3d Cir. 1993). In the Third Circuit, a “court may grant a judgment as a matter of law contrary to the verdict only if ‘the record is critically deficient of the minimum quantum of evidence' to sustain the verdict.” Acumed LLC v. Advanced Surgical Servs., Inc., 561 F.3d 199, 211 (3d Cir. 2009) (quoting Gomez v. Allegheny Health Servs., Inc., 71 F.3d 1079, 1083 (3d Cir.1995)).

         “In considering that issue the court ‘may not weigh the evidence, determine the credibility of witnesses, or substitute its version of the facts for the jury's version.'” Id. (quoting Lightning Lube, Inc. v. Witco Corp., 4 F.3d 1153, 1166 (3d Cir.1993)). “Entry of judgment as a matter of law is a ‘sparingly' invoked remedy, granted only if, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmovant and giving it the advantage of every fair and reasonable inference, there is insufficient evidence from which a jury reasonably could find liability.” Marra v. Phila. Hous. Auth., 497 F.3d 286, 300 (3d Cir. 2007) (citation omitted). A renewed post-verdict JMOL motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 50(b) “may not be made on grounds not included in the earlier [Rule 50(a)] motion.” Duro-Last, Inc. v. Custom Seal, Inc., 321 F.3d 1098, 1105 (Fed. Cir. 2003).

         B. Infringement

         To prove literal infringement, a patent owner must prove that every element of the claim is present in the accused device. Warner-Jenkinson v. Hilton Davis Chem. Co., 520 U.S. 17, 29 (1997). “If an accused product operates in accordance with a standard, then comparing the claims to that standard is the same as comparing the claims to the accused product.” Fujitsu Ltd. v. Netgear Inc., 620 F.3d at 327. “An accused infringer is free to either prove that the claims do not cover all implementations of the standard or to prove that it does not practice the standard.” Id. However, if the relevant section of the standard is ...


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