AVM Technologies LLC v. Intel Corporation
MEMORANDUM ORDER regarding the reverse doctrine of equivalents (see Memorandum Order for further details). Signed by Judge Richard G. Andrews on 4/29/2017. (nms)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE
AVM TECHNOLOGIES, LLC,
Civil Action No. 15-33-RGA
During the April 28, 2017 teleconference, Plaintiff argued that Defendant's reverse
doctrine of equivalents defense is an equitable doctrine that should be decided by the judge
rather than tried to the jury. (D.I. 672 at 18:23-25). Defendant disagreed and requested that the
defense be submitted to the jury. (Id. at 18:9-11 ). I asked the parties to submit a list of cases
supporting their positions, and they have. (D.I. 669, 670). Having considered the authority cited
by both parties, it seems clear that the Federal Circuit considers reverse doctrine of equivalents to
be an equitable doctrine, Scripps Clinic & Research Found. v. Genentech, Inc., 927 F.2d 1565,
1581 (Fed. Cir. 1991), that presents a question of fact. SRI Int'! v. Matsushita Elec. Corp. of
Am., 775 F.2d 1107, 1124 (Fed. Cir. 1985). None of the Federal Circuit cases cited by either
party squarely addresses whether reverse doctrine of equivalents is a jury question, although
several cases cited by Defendant seem to indicate that the court does not consider it to be
reversible error to submit the issue to the jury. See, e.g., DePuy Spine, Inc. v. Medtronic
Sofamor Danek, Inc., 567 F.3d 1314, 1339 (Fed. Cir. 2009). Several district courts have
determined it is a question for a jury. See En Liung Huang v. Auto Shade, Inc., 945 F. Supp.
1307, 1310 (C.D. Cal. 1996); Wicker Grp. v. Standard Register Co., 1995 WL 17883632, at *3
(E.D.Va. June 1, 1995). The relevant case out of this district held that this defense is not
required to be tried to a jury (but did not conclude that it must be tried to a judge). See Ciena
Corp. v. Corvis Corp., 2004 WL 253481 (D. Del. Feb. 6, 2004).
Therefore, the reverse doctrine of equivalents defense will be submitted to the jury. If
necessary, I will also make a determination in the alternative on the assumption that it is a
question for the Court.
l?/ day of April, 2017.
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