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Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. v. 10X Genomics Inc.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

July 9, 2019

BIO-RAD LABORATORIES INC. and THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, Plaintiffs,
v.
10X GENOMICS, INC., Defendant.

          Brian E. Farnan, Michael J. Farnan, FARNAN LLP, Wilmington, DE; Edward R. Reines, Derek C. Walter, Amanda Branch, Christopher S. Lavin, WEIL, GOTSHAL & MANGES LLP, Redwood Shores, CA; Robert T. Vlasis III, WEIL, GOTSHAL & MANGES LLP, Washington, DC. Attorneys for Plaintiffs.

          Frederick L. Cottrell, III, Jason J. Rawnsley, Alexandra M. Ewing, RICHARDS, LAYTON & FINGER, P.A., Wilmington, DE; E. Joshua Rosenkranz, Melanie L. Bostwick, Elizabeth R. Moulton, ORRICK HERRINGTON & SUTCLIFFE LLP, New York, NY; Matthew Powers, Azra Hadzimehmedovic, Robert Gerrity, TENSEGRITY LAW GROUP LLP, Redwood Shores, CA; David I. Gindler, Alan J. Heinrich, Lauren N. Drake, Elizabeth C. Tuan, IRELL &' MANELLA LLP, Los Angeles, CA. Attorneys for Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ANDREWS, DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Presently before the Court is Defendant's motion for judgment as a matter of law under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50(b), new trial under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59, and remittitur. (D.I. 509). I have reviewed the parties' briefing. (D.I. 510, 530, 535). I have also reviewed Plaintiffs' notice of subsequent development. (D.I. 551). For the following reasons, Defendant's motion is DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On February 12, 2015, RainDance Technologies, Inc. and the University of Chicago filed suit against 10X Genomics, Inc. alleging infringement of several patents. On May 30, 2017, Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc. substituted for RainDance. (D.I. 180). I held a jury trial from November 5 to 13, 2018.[1] Only three patents remained at issue-U.S. Patent Nos. 8, 889, 083 ("the '083 patent"), 8, 304, 193 ("the '193 patent"), and 8, 329, 407 ("the '407 patent"). (See D.I. 499). The jury found all three patents valid and infringed, that the infringement was willful, and that Plaintiffs were entitled to $23, 930, 718 in damages. (D.I. 476).

         10X now moves for judgment as a matter of law that the accused products do not infringe, that infringement was not willful, that the asserted claims are invalid, and that Plaintiffs failed to present a legally sufficient damages case. Where appropriate, 10X requests remittitur of damages. (D.I. 510 at 30). In the alternative, 10X moves for a new trial. (Id.).

         II. LEGAL STANDARDS

         A. Judgment as a Matter of Law

         Judgment as a matter of law is appropriate if "the court finds that a reasonable jury would not have a legally sufficient evidentiary basis to find for [a] party" on an issue. Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(a)(1). "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. Autk, 497 F.3d 286, 300 (3d Cir. 2007) (citation omitted).

         "To prevail on a renewed motion for JMOL following a jury trial, a party must show that the jury's findings, presumed or express, are not supported by substantial evidence or, if they were, that the legal conclusion(s) implied [by] the jury's verdict cannot in law be supported by those findings." Pannu v. Iolab Corp., 155 F.3d 1344, 1348 (Fed. Cir. 1998). "'Substantial' evidence is such relevant evidence from the record taken as a whole as might be accepted by a reasonable mind as adequate to support the finding under review." Perkin-Elmer Corp. v. Computervision Corp., 732 F.2d 888, 893 (Fed. Cir. 1984).

         In assessing the sufficiency of the evidence, the Court must give the non-moving party, "as [the] verdict winner, the benefit of all logical inferences that could be drawn from the evidence presented, resolve all conflicts in the evidence in his favor and, in general, view the record in the light most favorable to him." Williamson v. Consol. Rail Corp., 926 F.2d 1344, 1348 (3d Cir. 1991). The Court may "not determine the credibility of the witnesses [nor] substitute its choice for that of the jury between conflicting elements in the evidence." Perkin-Elmer, 732 F.2d at 893. Rather, the Court must determine whether the evidence supports the jury's verdict. See Dawn Equip. Co. v. Ky. Farms Inc., 140 F.3d 1009, 1014 (Fed. Cir. 1998); Gomez v. Allegheny Health Servs. Inc., 71 F.3d 1079, 1083 (3d Cir. 1995) (describing standard as "whether there is evidence upon which a reasonable jury could properly have found its verdict"); 9B Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 2524 (3d ed. 2008) ("The question is not whether there is literally no evidence supporting the party against whom the motion is directed but whether there is evidence upon which the jury might reasonably find a verdict for that party.").

         Where the moving party bears the burden of proof, the Third Circuit applies a different standard. This standard "requires the judge to test the body of evidence not for its insufficiency to support a finding, but rather for its overwhelming effect." Fireman's Fund Ins. Co. v. Videfreeze Corp., 540 F.2d 1171, 1177 (3d Cir. 1976) (quoting Mihalchak v. Am. Dredging Co., 266 F.2d 875, 877 (3d Cir. 1959)). The Court '"must be able to say not only that there is sufficient evidence to support the finding, even though other evidence could support as well a contrary finding, but additionally that there is insufficient evidence for permitting any different finding.'" Id. at 1171 (quoting Mihalchak, 266 F.2d at 877).

         B. New Trial

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(a)(1)(A) provides, in pertinent part: "The court may, on motion, grant a new trial on all or some of the issues-and to any party- .. . after a jury trial, for any reason for which a new trial has heretofore been granted in an action at law in federal court...." The decision to grant or deny a new trial is committed to the sound discretion of the district court. See Allied Chem. Corp. v. Daiflon, Inc., 449 U.S. 33, 36 (1980); Olefins Trading, Inc. v. Han Yang Chem. Corp., 9 F.3d 282, 289 (3d Cir. 1993) (reviewing district court's grant or denial of new trial motion under the "abuse of discretion" standard). Although the standard for granting a new trial is less rigorous than the standard for granting judgment as a matter of law- in that the Court need not view the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict winner-a new trial should only be granted where "a miscarriage of justice would result if the verdict were to stand," the verdict "cries out to be overturned," or where the verdict "shocks [the] conscience." Williamson, 926 F.2d at 1352-53.

         III. ASSERTED CLAIMS

         A. The'083 Patent

         Plaintiffs asserted claims 1 and 9 of the '083 patent. The claims provide:

1. A microfluidic system comprising:
a non-fluorinated microchannel;
a carrier fluid comprising a fluorinated oil and a fluorinated surfactant comprising a hydrophilic head group in the microchannel;
at least one plug[2] comprising an aqueous plug-fluid in the microchannel and substantially encased by the carrier-fluid, wherein the fluorinated surfactant is present at a concentration such that surface tension at the plug-fluid/microchannel wall interface is higher than surface tension at the plug-fluid/carrier fluid interface.
9. The microfluidic system of claim 1, wherein the fluorinated surfactant comprises an oligoethylene glycol.

         B. The'193 Patent

         Plaintiffs asserted claims 1, 6, and 8 of the '193 patent. The relevant claims provide:

1. A method for conducting an autocatalytic reaction in plugs in a microfluidic system, comprising the steps of:
providing the microfluidic system comprising at least two channels having at least one junction;
flowing an aqueous fluid containing at least one substrate molecule and reagents for conducting an autocatalytic reaction through a first channel of the at least two channels;
flowing an oil through the second channel of the at least two channels;
forming at least one plug of the aqueous fluid containing the at least one substrate molecule and reagents by partitioning the aqueous fluid with the flowing oil at the junction of the at least two channels, the plug being substantially surrounded by an oil flowing through the channel, wherein the at least one plug comprises at least one substrate molecule and reagents for conducting an autocatalytic reaction with the at least one substrate molecule; and
providing conditions suitable for the autocatalytic reaction in the at least one plug such that the at least one substrate molecule is amplified.

         6. The method of claim 1, wherein the oil is fluorinated oil.

         7. The method of claim 1, wherein the carrier fluid further comprises a surfactant.

         8. The method of claim 7, wherein the surfactant is fluorinated surfactant.

         C. The'407 Patent

         Plaintiffs asserted claims 1, 10, and 11 of the '407 patent. The relevant claims provide:

1. A method for conducting a reaction in plugs in a microfluidic system, comprising the steps of:
providing the microfluidic system comprising at least two channels having at least one junction;
continuously flowing ah aqueous fluid containing at least one biological molecule and at least one reagent for conducting the reaction between the biological molecule and the at least one reagent through a first channel of the at least two channels;
continuously flowing a carrier fluid immiscible with the aqueous fluid through the second channel of the at least two channels;
forming at least one plug of the aqueous fluid containing the at least one biological molecule and the at least one reagent by partitioning the aqueous fluid with the flowing immiscible carrier fluid at the junction of the at least two channels, the plug being substantially surrounded by the immiscible carrier fluid flowing through the channel, wherein the at least one plug comprises at least one biological molecule and the at least one reagent for conducting the reaction with the at least one biological molecule; and
providing conditions suitable for the reaction in the at least one plug involving the at least one biological molecule and the at least one reagent to form a reaction product.
8. The method according to claim 1, wherein the immiscible carrier fluid is an oil.
9. The method according to claim 8, wherein the oil comprises a surfactant.
10. The method according to claim 9, wherein the surfactant is a fluorosurfactant.
11. The method according to claim 8, wherein the oil is a fluorinated oil.

         IV. NON-INFRINGEMENT

         The jury found direct, induced, and contributory infringement of each asserted claim relating to each of 10X's accused products. (D.I. 476). In addition, for liability under 35 U.S.C. § 271(f)(2), the jury found that 10X supplies from the United States a component of the invention claimed in the '083 patent. (Id. at 3). Lastly, the jury found that infringement was willful. (Id. at 8).

         A. '083 Patent

         10X's motion addresses two limitations in claim 1 of the '083 patent-(1) the "non-fluorinated microchannel" and (2) the claimed surface tension relationship between the "plug-fluid/microchannel wall interface" and the "plug-fluid/carrier fluid interface." (D.I. 510 at 1-5, 10-11). For the following reasons, 10X's motion is DENIED with respect to both limitations.

         1. "non-fluorinated microchannel"

         Three out of the six accused products are modified to include 0.02% Kynar, a substance containing fluorine. Tr. at 368:15-369:19 (Dr. Sia). The jury found the products with Kynar did not literally satisfy the "non-fluorinated microchannel" limitation, but did meet the limitation under the doctrine of equivalents. (D.I. 476 at 3). 10X argues that the jury verdict is wrong as matter of law, or in the alternative, that it is based on insufficient evidence. (D.I. 510 at 1-4).

         "[T]he doctrine of equivalents cannot be employed in a manner that wholly vitiates a claim limitation." SciMed Life Sys., Inc. v. Advanced Cardiovascular Sys., Inc., 242 ...


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