Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation et al v. Power Integrations Inc.
MEMORANDUM ORDER re #299 MOTION for Reargument filed by Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation, Fairchild (Taiwan) Corporation is DENIED; Fairchild's Objections to Special Master Orders are OVERRULED and the Special Master's Orders are ADOPTED. Signed by Judge Leonard P. Stark on 4/24/15. (ntl)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE
CORPORATION and FAIRCHILD
C.A. No. 12-540-LPS
POWER INTEGRATIONS, INC.,
At Wilmington this 24th day of April, 2015,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
Fairchild's Motion for Reargument
Plaintiffs Fairchild Semiconductor Corp. and Fairchild (Taiwan) Corp.'s ("Fairchild")
Motion for Reargument (D.I. 299) is DENIED.
Pursuant to Local Rule 7.1.5, a motion for reconsideration or reargument should be
granted only "sparingly." The decision to grant such a motion lies squarely within the discretion
of the district court. See Dentsply Int'!, Inc. v. Kerr Mfg. Co., 42 F. Supp. 2d 385, 419 (D. Del.
1999); Brambles USA, Inc. v. Blocker, 735 F. Supp. 1239, 1241 (D. Del. 1990). These types of
motions are granted only if the Court has patently misunderstood a party, made a decision outside
the adversarial issues presented by the parties, or made an error not of reasoning but of
apprehension. See Schering Corp. v. Amgen, Inc., 25 F. Supp. 2d 293, 295 (D. Del. 1998);
Brambles, 735 F. Supp. at 1241. "A motion for reconsideration is not properly grounded on a
request that a court rethink a decision already made." Smith v. Meyers, 2009 WL 5195928, at *1
(D. Del. Dec. 30, 2009); see also Glendon Energy Co. v. Borough of Glendon, 836 F. Supp.
1109, 1122 (E.D. Pa. 1993). It is not an opportunity to "accomplish repetition of arguments that
were or should have been presented to the court previously." Karr v. Castle, 768 F. Supp. 1087,
1093 (D. Del. 1991).
A party may seek reconsideration only if it can show at least one of the following:
(i) there has been an intervening change in controlling law; (ii) the availability of new evidence
not available when the court made its decision; or (iii) there is a need to correct a clear error of
law or fact to prevent manifest injustice. See Max's Seafood Cafe by LouAnn, Inc. v. Quinteros,
176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999). However, in no instance should reconsideration be granted if
it would not result in amendment of an order. See Schering Corp., 25 F. Supp. 2d at 295.
Fairchild's motion is directed to the Court's April 15 decision to grant summary
judgment to Defendant Power Integrations, Inc. ("PI") relating to priority on PI's '457 patent.
(See D.I. 295; D.I. 296) In particular, Fairchild contends that the Court's finding that PI provided
proof of reasonable diligence in reducing the invention of the '457 patent to practice after
conception "is based on a mistake of apprehension not supported by the law or facts." (D.I. 299
at 2) Fairchild further contends that "the greatest misapprehension of fact" is that "there is no
evidence in the record to support the conclusion that Mr. Kung worked diligently on the
project from the time the idea was brought to him until July 31, 2009." (Id. at 3) (emphasis in
original) Additionally, Fairchild faults the Court for relying on "speculative expert testimony
and baseless attorney argument." (Id. at 7)
The Court concludes that Fairchild has failed to demonstrate that this is one of the rare
circumstances in which reargument should be granted. The Court carefully reviewed the large
record the parties put before it in connection with the '457 priority date issue, analyzed the
briefing, and heard extensive oral argument on the issue (which assisted the Court in
understanding the evidence). Having done so, and having weighed the evidence - including
expert opinion as to what is demonstrated by other evidence of record, including (but not limited
to) laboratory notebooks and inventor depositions - the Court concluded that no genuine dispute
of fact remained and that a reasonable juror could only conclude that PI had proven, by the
applicable standard, reasonable diligence. In this regard, the Court also relied on Fairchild's
repeated representations that the issue could and should be resolved as a matter of law and need
not be put before the jury, a position Fairchild did not retract at or after the hearing (at least until
the Court issued its decision). Most of what Fairchild argues was before the Court previously
and the Court will not now "rethink" its decision. See Samuel v. Carroll, 505 F. Supp. 2d 256,
262 (D. Del. 2007). While Fairchild may eventually be able to show that the Court erred in its
reasoning, Fairchild has failed to show that the Court clearly erred, misapprehended an issue of
law or fact, or that its decision results in manifest injustice.
Accordingly, Fairchild's motion is denied.
Fairchild's Objections to Special Master Orders
On January 13, 2015, the Court ordered that any disputes the parties may have in
preparing a form of order to implement the Court's ruling granting PI's motion to strike
Fairchild's untimely contentions would be referred to a special master. (D.I. 183) At the same
time, the Court indicated that "any further discovery disputes in this matter ... will be referred to
a special master." (Id.) As such disputes arose, the Court on January 30, 2015, appointed Allen
M. Terrell, Jr., as special master. (D.I. 205) Through extensive efforts, which included
reviewing briefing, expert reports, prior decisions of the Court, and hearing lengthy and repeated
oral argument from the parties, the special master ultimately issued seven orders. 1 Fairchild has
objected to several of the special masters' orders. For the reasons stated below, Fairchild's
objections are OVERRULED and the Special Master's Orders are ADOPTED.
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 53(±)(3), the Court "must decide de novo all
objections to findings of fact made or recommended by a master." Further, the Court "must
decide de novo all objections to conclusions oflaw made or recommended by a master." Fed. R.
Civ. P. 53(±)(4). "[T]he court may set aside a master's ruling on a procedural matter only for an
abuse of discretion." Fed. R. Civ. P. 53(±)(5); see also Honeywell Int'!, Inc. v. Nikon Corp., 2009
WL 577274, at* 1 (D. Del. Mar. 4, 2009). The Court "may receive evidence." Fed. R. Civ. P.
53(±)(1 ). After reviewing the objections according to the applicable standard ofreview, and
following any additional proceedings the Court deems necessary, the Court "may adopt or affirm,
modify, wholly or partly reject or reverse, or resubmit to the master with instructions." Id.
Objections regarding Orders on PI's motion to strike
Fairchild contends that the Special Master's ruling on PI's motion to strike Fairchild's
expert report "was factually and legally erroneous" and "requests that the Court wholly reject the
ruling." (D.I. 286 at 1) The Court disagrees and instead wholly adopts Special Master Orders 1,
The Court expresses its gratitude to Special Master Terrell for the work he has performed
on behalf of the Court.
2, 3, 4 and 5. (DJ. 219, 251, 253, 269, 270) The rulings to which Fairchild objects are
procedural matters and the record reveals no abuse of discretion by the Special Master. Even if
de novo review is applied, the Court disagrees with Fairchild that a paragraph-by-paragraph
analysis was necessary and further disagrees with Fairchild's contention that the Special Master
failed to undertake such an analysis. (See, e.g., DJ. 269 at 7-10) As importantly, the Court
entirely agrees with PI that the Special Master's decisions in connection with PI' s motion to
strike were all consistent with what the Court ordered and envisioned when it advised the parties
how it was proceeding with respect to PI's motion to strike. (See, e.g., DJ. 311 at 5)2 Finally,
Fairchild asserts: "The Special Master wrongly accepted the idea that the issue before it
was an 'all-or-nothing' proposition centered on a 'single dispute.' As this Court made clear in its
Orders, the proper analysis was to compare the revised reports with the timely contentions to
determine whether the reports are 'limited to and consistent with [Fairchild's] timely contentions
submitted prior to the close of fact discovery.' (DJ. 162; DJ. 183)" (DJ. 286 at 2-3) The Court
does not understand how Fairchild could divine such instruction from the cited Orders of the
Court (or any others).
DJ. 162 reads, in its entirety, as follows (with emphasis added):
ORAL ORDER: Having reviewed the parties' most recent letters
regarding Fairchild's contentions in this matter, as well as the
related filings, and having heard oral argument on the issue on
October 3, 2014, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that, in light of all
the facts and circumstances, for the reasons stated below as well as
those stated during the recent teleconference, Defendant Power
Integrations' ("Power'') position is more reasonable than
Plaintiff Fairchild's. For example, Fairchild provides no
persuasive reason for changing its identification of certain
structures in its May 2014 infringement contentions, or for citing
new prior art in its supplemental invalidity contentions well after
the close of fact discovery in December 2013. Moreover, Fairchild
cannot avoid the boundaries of its timely infringement contentions
by not disclosing the substance of its doctrine of equivalents and
structural equivalents contentions until its Corrected Opening
Expert Report of Dr. Collins in September 2014. This conclusion is
supported by application of the Pennypack factors, as: Power
would be prejudiced by allowing Fairchild to proceed on its
untimely contentions, which would likely lead to loss of the current
trial date and the necessity for additional expensive discovery, and
could potentially require additional claim construction
proceedings; Power could not cure the prejudice without undue
expense and/or delay, including disruption of the currentlyscheduled May/June 2015 trial; while the Court does not find
Fairchild acted in bad faith, it did willfully proceed on timing in
conflict with the Court's scheduling order for fact discovery, and
there was no express agreement from Power to allow Fairchild to
so proceed; and while Fairchild will lose some "critical" evidence,
it may proceed on its timely-filed contentions. Accordingly, having
previously advised the parties that the Court intended (after the
now-completed supplemental briefing) to side with whichever of
the two positions was most reasonable, the Court GRANTS
Power's motion to strike, finding this not to be an "extreme"
sanction under the circumstances. As proposed by Power, Fairchild
is permitted to provide new expert reports limited to and
consistent with its timely contentions submitted prior to the close
of/act discovery. The parties shall SUBMIT a proposed order
modifying the scheduling order, while keeping this case on track
for the currently-scheduled trial, no later than October 27, 2014.
D.I. 183 reads, in its entirety, as follows (with emphasis added):
ORAL ORDER: IT HEREBY ORDERED that PI's motion to
strike Fairchild's reliance on untimely contentions (D.I. 171) is
GRANTED. The Court agrees with PI (see D.I. 168) that this issue
was already decided when the Court evaluated the parties' dispute
over Fairchild's contentions (see D.I. 162). At that time the Court
gave both sides fair warning that it would adopt whichever side's
position was the more reasonable as a whole. Fairchild
understood (or at minimum should have understood) what was at
stake at that time yet continued to request that nothing be stricken,
a position the Court found to be less reasonable than PI's position.
Fairchild's interpretation of the Court's prior order is
unconvincing, for reasons including that the analysis of the
Pennypack factors contained in the prior order plainly
contemplated that the untimely contentions were no longer to be
asserted in this proceeding in any form. IT IS FURTHER
ORDERED that PI's request to sanction Fairchild and its counsel
it bears emphasis that when the Court indicated in its oral order that Fairchild "could provide
new expert reports limited to and consistent with its timely contentions" (D.I. 162) it was
adopting a proposal of PJ's and was, therefore, only permitting "new expert reports" from
Fairchild to address solely those contentions that PI agreed were timely.
Objections regarding Order on Fairchild's motion to strike
On March 2, 2015, Fairchild filed a motion to strike what it contended were untimely
contentions in PI's expert report. (See D.I. 255, 258) The Court referred Fairchild's motion to
the Special Master on March 13. (D.I. 263) Thereafter, the Special Master reviewed the briefing
that had been filed with the Court as well as additional submissions from the parties and heard
lengthy argument. On March 31, the Special Master issued Order No. 6, which found for
Fairchild only to the extent that it strikes portions of PI's expert reports that are irrelevant
because they are responsive to opinions of Fairchild's experts that have been stricken. (See, e.g,
D.I. 274 at 3-5) Fairchild objects to the Special Master's decisions. (See D.I. 287)
Fairchild's objections are OVERRULED and the Court ADOPTS Special Master Order
No. 6. (D.1. 274) To the extent Fairchild is objecting to the procedure and form of analysis
undertaken by the Special Master (see D.I. 287 at 1-3), the Court finds no abuse of discretion.
Even applying de novo review, the Court agrees with the Special Master in all respects,
(D.I. 168 at 3) is DENIED as unwarranted under the totality of the
circumstances. Finally, the parties SHALL, no later than January
16, submit a proposed form of order implementing the Court's
ruling on the motion to strike, with the level of detail provided in
PI's previously-proposed form of order (D .I. 169). Any disputes as
to the details of the form of order, or any further discovery-related
disputes in this matter, will be referred to a special master.
including, for example, that Dr. Kelley has not expressed certain opinions Fairchild attributes to
him (see, e.g., D.I. 274 at 3 ifif 1-2), that Dr. Kelley's rebuttal opinions on secondary
considerations are responsive to Fairchild's Dr. Wei's opinions, and Fairchild never sought
discovery on secondary considerations with specificity (see, e.g., id at 4 if 6; see also D.I. 305 at
HON. LEONARD P. STARK
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
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