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Power Integrations Inc. v. Fairchild Semiconductor International Inc.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

July 22, 2019


          Douglas E. McCann and Joseph B. Warden, FISH & RICHARDSON P.C., Wilmington, DE Frank E. Scherkenbach, FISH & RICHARDSON P.C., Boston, MA Howard G. Pollack, Michael R Headley, and Neil A. Warren, FISH & RICHARDSON P.C., Redwood City, CA John W. Thornburgh, FISH & RICHARDSON P.C., San Diego, CA Attorneys for Plaintiff

          John G. Day and Andrew C. Mayo, ASHBY & GEDDES, Wilmington, DE Erik J. Olson, Colette Reiner Mayer, Pieter Sebastian de Ganon, and Stephen Liu, MORRISON & FOERSTER LLP, Palo Alto, CA Scott F. Llewellyn, MORRISON & FOERSTER LLP, Denver, CO Esther Kim Chang and Thomas J. Pardini, MORRISON & FOERSTER LLP, San Francisco, CA Attorneys for Defendants


          STARK, U.S. District Judge.

         Pending before the Court are the parties' post-trial motions. On November 8, 2018, during a five-day jury trial, Plaintiff Power Integrations, Inc. ("PI") and Defendants Fairchild Semiconductor International, Inc., Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation, and Fairchild (Taiwan) Corporation (collectively, "Fairchild") each filed Motions for Judgment as a Matter of Law ("JMOL"). (D.I. 1007, 1010) On January 18, 2019, PI filed a Motion for Attorneys' Fees, Enhanced Damages, and Pre- and Post-Judgment Interest (D.I. 1037) while Fairchild filed a Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law, or in the Alternative, a New Trial or Remittitur (D.I. 1036). PI also filed a Motion to Strike the Declarations of W.H. Huang, Justin Chiang, and Joel Pond. (D.I. 1057) Briefing on all motions was completed by March 29, 2019. (D.I. 1038, 1040, 1043, 1044, 1058, 1059, 1061, 1064, 1065) The Court heard oral argument on April 5, 2019. (D.I. 1068 ("Tr."))[1]

         For the reasons stated below, the Court will deny as moot the parties' initial JMOLs, grant in part and deny in part Pi's post-trial motion, deny Fairchild's post-trial motion, and deny as moot PI's motion to strike.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The recent trial from which the pending motions arise is just one battle in a long-running war between these parties.[2] This case ("Fairchild II”) was filed in May 2008 and is the second in this District between these parties. In the first case, CA. No. 04-1371 ("Fairchild I”), Fairchild was found to have willfully infringed PI's U.S. Patent Nos. 6, 249, 876 (the '"876 patent") and 6, 107, 851 (the '"851 patent"). In the present case, the Court initially bifurcated infringement and validity from willfulness and damages. In April 2012, a jury found that a new set of Fairchild products directly and indirectly infringed the '876 and '851 patents. On appeal, the Federal Circuit remanded for a new trial on inducement due to errors in the inducement jury instruction. The November 2018 trial, then, was a new trial on inducement, as well as the first trial (in this case of Fairchild II) on willfulness and damages. The jury found that Fairchild directly and indirectly (by inducement) infringed, that Fairchild's infringement was willful, and that reasonable royalty damages were $24, 270, 194.20. (D.I. 1014) Judgment was entered on the verdict on December 27, 2018. (D.I. 1023)


         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," one "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) (internal quotation marks omitted).[3]

         To prevail on a renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law following a jury trial, the moving party "must show that the jury's findings, presumed or express, are not supported by substantial evidence or, if they were, that the legal conclusions 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) (internal quotation marks omitted). "'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); see also Perkin-Elmer Corp., 732 F.2d at 893. The Court may not assess the credibility of witnesses nor "substitute its choice for that of the jury between conflicting elements of the evidence." Perkin-Elmer Corp., 732 F.2d at 893. Rather, the Court must determine whether the evidence reasonably 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 & Edward H. Cooper, Federal Practice & 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 properly could find a verdict for that party.").

         B. New Trial

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(a) provides in pertinent part, "[t]he court may, on motion, grant a new trial on all or some of the issues - and to any party - as follows: ... after a jury trial, for any reason for which a new trial has heretofore been granted in an action at law in federal court." New trials are commonly granted where "the jury's verdict is against the clear weight of the evidence, and a new trial must be granted to prevent a miscarriage of justice," where "newly-discovered evidence exists that would likely alter the outcome of the trial," where "improper conduct by an attorney or the court unfairly influenced the verdict," or where the jury's verdict was "facially inconsistent." Zarow-Smith v. N.J. Transit Rail Operations, 953 F.Supp. 581, 584-85 (D. N.J. 1997) (internal citations omitted).

         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 a new trial motion" under "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, ordinarily 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 the verdict "shocks [the] conscience." Williamson, 926 F.2d at 1352-53.

         C. Enhanced Damages

         When damages resulting from patent infringement are found, "the court may increase the damages up to three times the amount found or assessed." 35 U.S.C. § 284 (emphasis added). In Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc., 136 S.Ct. 1923, 1932 (2016), the Supreme Court explained that § 284 means "[d]istrict courts enjoy discretion in deciding whether to award enhanced damages, and in what amount." See also Id. at 1934 ("Section 284 gives district courts discretion in meting out enhanced damages.").

         Halo further explains that "enhanced damages are generally appropriate under § 284 only in egregious cases.... [Enhanced damages are] not to be meted out in a typical patent infringement case." Id. at 1932 (emphasis added). Halo continues: "The sort of conduct warranting enhanced damages has been variously described in our cases as willful, wanton, malicious, bad-faith, deliberate, consciously wrongful, flagrant, or - indeed - characteristic of a pirate." Id. "[N]one of this is to say that enhanced damages must follow a finding of egregious misconduct. As with any exercise of discretion, courts should continue to take into account the particular circumstances of each case in deciding whether to award damages, and in what amount." Id. at 1933 (emphasis added). The party seeking enhanced damages has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that they should be awarded. See Id. at 1934.

         D. Attorneys' Fees

         In "exceptional" patent cases, a Court may award "reasonable attorney fees" to the "prevailing party." 35 U.S.C. § 285. A case is "exceptional" under § 285 if it is "simply one that stands out from others with respect to the substantive strength of a party's litigating position (considering both the governing law and the facts of the case) or the unreasonable manner in which the case was litigated." Octane Fitness, LLC v. ICON Health & Fitness, Inc., 134 S.Ct. 1749, 1756 (2014). Ultimately, the Court must make a discretionary decision based on the totality of circumstances, which may include factors such as "frivolousness, motivation, objective unreasonableness (both in the factual and legal components of the case) and the need in particular circumstances to advance considerations of compensation and deterrence." Id. at 1756 & n.6. A party moving for attorneys' fees must demonstrate, by a preponderance of the evidence, that a case is "exceptional." Id. at 1758.


         A. Fairchild's Motion to Set Aside the Inducement Verdict and for a New Trial on Inducement

         Fairchild seeks judgment as a matter of law that it is not liable for induced infringement or, alternatively, a new trial on induced infringement. As explained below, Fairchild has failed to show that the jury was presented with insufficient evidence from which to reasonably find liability, that the jury's verdict was against the clear weight of the evidence, or that a new trial must be granted to prevent a miscarriage of justice. Accordingly, the Court will deny Fairchild's motion.

         1. Law of the Case Does Not Preclude the Motion

         As an initial matter, the Court concludes that Fairchild's motion is not barred by law of the case doctrine. The law of the case doctrine provides that "when a court decides upon a rule of law, that decision should continue to govern the same issues in subsequent stages in the same case." Christianson v. Colt Indus. Operating Corp., 486 U.S. 800, 816 (1988). The Court previously denied Fairchild's JMOL after the first trial (see D.I. 731 at 25-26), which the Federal Circuit affirmed, but the Federal Circuit also remanded for a new trial on induced infringement due to an erroneous jury instruction. See Power Integrations, Inc. v. Fairchild Semiconductor Int'l, Inc., 843 F.3d 1315, 1332, 1335 (Fed. Cir. 2016). Under these circumstances, the Court must consider the sufficiency of the evidence as it was presented to the second (properly-instructed) jury, which includes some new evidence as to the scope of induced infringement (for reasons including that the second trial, unlike the first, also addressed damages). (See D.I. 1061 at 4) Further, as PI concedes (see Tr. at 44), the order denying summary judgment of no inducement in connection with the second trial does not preclude the Court from considering a JMOL on the same issue.

         Although law of the case does not apply, it is nonetheless true (as will be evident from the discussion below) that the Federal Circuit's 2016 opinion in this case is highly instructive, particularly given the ...

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