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In re Chanbond, LLC Patent Litigation

United States District Court, D. Delaware

December 19, 2019

IN RE CHANBOND, LLC PATENT LITIGATION

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ANDREWS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiffs Motion to Exclude the Expert Opinions of Cathleen Thomas Quigley Regarding Written Description and Enablement, or in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment. (D.I. 367). I have reviewed the parties' briefing and heard oral argument. (D.I. 368, 396, 413, 471).

         I. BACKGROUND

         In September 2015, Plaintiff ChanBond, LLC filed thirteen suits against numerous defendants (collectively, "Defendants") asserting infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 7, 941, 822 ("the '822 Patent"), 8, 341, 679 ("the '679 Patent"), and 8, 984, 565 ("the '565 Patent"). (See, e.g., D.I. 1 (complaint against Atlantic Broadband Group, LLC)). The actions were consolidated for all pre-trial purposes. (D.I. 107).

         In the instant dispute, Plaintiff challenges three written description opinions offered by Defendants' expert, Ms. Quigley: (1) that the asserted patents lack written description support for an "intelligent device" that receives data directly from, or transmits data directly to, a cable headend as claimed (the '822, '679, and '565 patents); (2) that the asserted patents lack written description support for an "intelligent device" that receives "channel in use information which identifies each channel in the modulated RF signal that includes information addressed to at least one addressable device" (the '822 and '679 patents); and (3) that the asserted patents lack written description support for an "intelligent device" that "receives" channel in use information rather than one that "generates" channel in use information (the '822, '679, and '565 patents).[1] (D.I. 396 at 1-2).

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A. Daubert

         Federal Rule of Evidence 702 sets out the requirements for expert witness testimony and states:

A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if: (a) the expert's scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue; (b) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data; (c) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and (d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of the case.

Fed. R. Evid. 702. The Third Circuit has explained:

Rule 702 embodies a trilogy of restrictions on expert testimony: qualification, reliability and fit. Qualification refers to the requirement that the witness possess specialized expertise. We have interpreted this requirement liberally, holding that "a broad range of knowledge, skills, and training qualify an expert." Secondly, the testimony must be reliable; it "must be based on the 'methods and procedures of science' rather than on 'subjective belief or unsupported speculation'; the expert must have 'good grounds' for his o[r] her belief. In sum, Daubert holds that an inquiry into the reliability of scientific evidence under Rule 702 requires a determination as to its scientific validity." Finally, Rule 702 requires that the expert testimony must fit the issues in the case. In other words, the expert's testimony must be relevant for the purposes of the case and must assist the trier of fact. The Supreme Court explained in Daubert that "Rule 7O2's 'helpfulness' standard requires a valid scientific connection to the pertinent inquiry as a precondition to admissibility."
By means of a so-called "Daubert hearing," the district court acts as a gatekeeper, preventing opinion testimony that does not meet the requirements of qualification, reliability and fit from reaching the jury. See Daubert ("Faced with a proffer of expert scientific testimony, then, the trial judge must determine at the outset, pursuant to Rule 104(a) [of the Federal Rules of Evidence] whether the expert is proposing to testify to (1) scientific knowledge that (2) will assist the trier of fact to understand or determine a fact in issue.").

Schneider ex rel Estate of Schneider v. Fried, 320 F.3d 396, 404-05 (3d Cir. 2003) (footnote and internal citations omitted).[2]

         B. Written Description

         The written description requirement of 35 U.S.C. § 112, ¶ 1 requires that the specification "clearly allow persons of ordinary skill in the art to recognize that [the inventor] invented what is claimed." AriadPharm. Inc. v. Eli Lilly & Co., 598 F.3d 1336, 1351 (Fed. Cir. 2010) (en banc) (alteration in original) (internal quotation marks omitted). "[T]he purpose of the written description requirement is to 'ensure that the scope of the right to exclude, as set forth in the claims, does not overreach the scope of the inventor's contribution to the field of art as described in the patent specification.'" Univ. of Rochester v. G.D. Searle & Co., 358 F.3d 916, 920 (Fed. Cir. 2004). "In other words, the test for sufficiency is whether the disclosure of the application relied upon reasonably conveys to those skilled in the art that the inventor had possession of the claimed subject matter as of the filing date." Ariad, 598 F.3d at 1351. The written description inquiry is a question of fact. See Id. "A party must prove invalidity for lack of written description by clear and convincing evidence." Vasudevan Software, Inc. v. MicroStrategy, Inc., 782 F.3d 671, 682 (Fed. Cir. 2015).

         C. Summary Judgment

         "The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party has the initial burden of proving the absence of a genuinely disputed material fact relative to the claims in question. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 411 U.S. 317, 330 (1986). Material facts are those "that could affect the outcome" of the proceeding, and "a dispute about a material fact is 'genuine' if the evidence is sufficient to permit a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Lamont v. New Jersey, 637 F.3d 177, 181 (3d Cir. 2011) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 411 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). The burden on the moving party may be discharged by pointing out to the district court that there is an absence of evidence supporting the non-moving party's case. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323.

         The burden then shifts to the non-movant to demonstrate the existence of a genuine issue for trial. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986); Williams v. Borough of West Chester, Pa., 891 F.2d 458, 460-61 (3d Cir. 1989). A non-moving party asserting that a fact is genuinely disputed must support such an assertion by: "(A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations . . ., admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials; or (B) showing that the materials cited [by the opposing party] do not establish the absence ... of a genuine dispute ...." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1).

         When determining whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, the court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007); Wishkin v. Potter, 476 F.3d 180, 184 (3d Cir. 2007). A dispute is "genuine" only if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party. Anderson, 411 U.S. at 247-49. If the non-moving party fails to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of its case with respect to which it has the burden of proof, the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322.

         III. DISCUSSION

         The '822 patent is directed to an intelligent device system and method for distribution of digital signals on a wideband signal distribution system. ...


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