WARNER CHILCOTT COMPANY, LLC v. LUPIN LTD. et al
MEMORANDUM & ORDER that Lupins Application for Leave to Amend its Invalidity Contentions is GRANTED; Ordering that Lupin shall submit its contentions by 8/23/2013, Plaintiff's responses due by 9/6/2013. Signed by Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Arpert on 8/19/2013. (eaj)
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
LUPIN LTD., et al.
Civil Action No. 11-7228 (JAP)
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
This matter mater comes before the Court on Defendants Lupin Ltd. and Lupin
Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s (collectively, “Lupin”) Application for Leave to Amend Invalidity
Contentions. Plaintiff Warner Chilcott Company, LLC’s (“Plaintiff” or “Warner Chilcott”)
opposes Lupin’s Application. For the reasons that follow, Lupin’s Application is GRANTED.
As the facts are well-known to the Parties and the Court, they will be set forth below only
as they related to the instant Application.
Pursuant to the Court’s Pretrial Scheduling Order (“the Order”), invalidity contentions
were to be served by May 17, 2012. See dkt. no. 36. The Order also set a deadline of April 1,
2013 for completion of fact discovery. Id. Lupin first approached Plaintiff about amending its
Invalidity Contentions on May 13, 2013. On that date, Lupin provided Plaintiff with its proposed
amendments. The Parties’ attempts to resolve the issue informally were unsuccessful.
Lupin now seeks leave to supplement its invalidity contentions in two ways: (1) to further
“elucidate Lupin’s invalidity positions with regard to prior art that was (i) produced by Plaintiff
during the fact discovery phase of this case,” (ii) “referenced by Mylan in its Invalidity
Contenitons,” or (iii) “well-known to Plaintiff”; and (2) “to update Lupin’s contention regarding
the priority date to which the patent-in-suit is entitled.” Lupin’s June 17, 2013 Letter at 1. While
Lupin claims its proposed changes merely expand or reinforce previously disclosed theories of
invalidity defenses, Plaintiff claims “Lupin’s new theories would inject multiple new issues into
the case that would inevitably require additional discovery,” Plaintiff’s July 1, 2013 Letter at 6.
The District’s Local Patent Rules “exist to further the goal of full, timely discovery and
provide all parties with adequate notice and information with which to litigate their cases.”
Computer Accelerations Corp. v. Microsoft Corp., 503 F.Supp.2d 819, 822 (E.D.Tex. 2007). The
Rules are designed specifically to “require parties to crystallize their theories of the case early in
litigation and to adhere to those theories once they have been disclosed.” Atmel Corp. v. Info.
Storage Devices, Inc., 1998 WL 775115, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 5, 1998). This is “to ‘prevent the
‘shifting sands’ approach to claim construction.’” O2 Micro Int'l Ltd. v. Monolithic Power Sys.,
Inc., 467 F.3d 1355, 1364 (Fed. Cir. 2006) (citing Atmel, 1998 WL 775115, at *2). As
distinguished from the liberal standard for amending pleadings, “the philosophy behind
amending claim charts is decidedly conservative.” Atmel, 1998 WL 775115, at *2. However,
Rule 3.7 “is not a straitjacket into which litigants are locked from the moment their contentions
are served”; instead, “a modest degree of flexibility [exists], at least near the outset.” Comcast
Cable Communs. Corp. v. Finisar Corp., 2007 WL716131, at *2 (N.D. Cal. March 2, 2007).
Pursuant to L. Pat. R. 3.7, leave to amend invalidity contentions may be granted “only by
order of the Court upon a timely application and showing of good cause.” Rule 3.7 provides a
nonexhaustive list of circumstances that may, absent undue prejudice to the adverse party,
support a finding of good cause:
(a) a claim construction by the Court different from that proposed
by the party seeking amendment; (b) recent discovery of material
prior art despite earlier diligent search; (c) recent discovery of
nonpublic information about the Accused Instrumentality which
was not discovered, despite diligent efforts, before the service of
the Infringement Contention; (d) disclosure of an infringement
contention by a Hatch- Waxman Act party asserting infringement
under L. Pat. R. 3.6(g) that requires response by the adverse party
because it was not previously presented or reasonably anticipated;
and (e) consent by the parties in interest to the amendment and a
showing that it will not lead to an enlargement of time or impact
other scheduled deadlines . . . .
L. Pat. R. 3.7. Good cause “considers first whether the moving party was diligent in amending its
contentions and then whether the non-moving party would suffer prejudice if the motion to
amend were granted.” Acer, Inc. v. Tech. Prob. Ltd., 2010 WL 3618687, at *3 (N.D. Cal. Sept.
10, 2010) (citing O2 Micro, 467 F.3d 1355, 1355). Importantly, however, the Court may only
consider prejudice to the non-moving party if the moving party is able to demonstrate diligence.
Apple v. Samsung, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83115, at *13 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 27, 2012) (collecting
Courts have understood diligence to require a “showing that the party seeking leave to
amend acted . . . promptly [in] moving to amend when new evidence is revealed in discovery.”
O2 Micro, 467 F. 3d 1355, 1363, 1366 (collecting cases). This requirement is consistent with L.
Pat. Rule 3.7’s requirement that the Motion be “timely.” As with good cause in general, the
burden “is on the movant to establish diligence rather than on the opposing party to establish lack
of diligence.” O2 Micro, 467 F. 3d 1355, 1366.
In determining whether good cause exists, courts have also considered such other factors
as (1) the reason for the delay, including whether it was within the reasonable control of the party
responsible for it; (2) the importance of what is to be excluded; (3) the danger of unfair
prejudice; and (4) the availability of a continuance and the potential impact of a delay on judicial
proceedings. See Oy Ajat, Ltd. v. Vatech Am., Inc., 2012 WL 1067900, at *20-21 (D.N.J. Mar.
29, 2012) (collecting cases).
Lupin’s proposed supplemental contentions assert that the ‘050 patent is: “(1) anticipated
by [Warner Chilcott’s] Ovcon [product] and/or (2) rendered obvious by Ovcon in combination
with various prior art references.” Lupin’s July 11, 2013 Letter at 2.
Lupin claims its proposed amendments are supported by documents produced by Plaintiff
during the course of fact discovery. See Lupin’s June 17, 2013 Letter at 4; Lupin’s July 22, 2013
Letter at 2. Thus, Lupin claims, “[n]ot having access to any of these internal, confidential
documents before production by Warner Chilcott, Lupin could not have fully developed its
anticipation/obviousness contentions with regard to the Ovcon product [earlier].” Lupin’s June
17, 2013 Letter at 4. Lupin also points to recent deposition testimony, obtained on August 1,
2013 from one of the named inventors of the product-at-issue, which further supports and/or
confirms Lupin’s proposed contentions. Lupin’s August 2, 2013 Letter at 1-2.
Plaintiff, on the other hand, maintains that “Lupin already knew all it needed to know to
evaluate and advance its ‘Ovcon’ defense.” Plaintiff’s July 1, 2013 Letter at 4. Specifically,
Plaintiff points to a notice letter (“the Notice Letter”) which Lupin sent to Plaintiff in July 2009
prior to commencement of the Femcon® litigation. Id. at 5. Plaintiff also points out that one
document cited by Lupin, Exhibit D, was produced in December 2012 (i.e., five months prior to
Lupin’s first request to amend its Invalidity Contention). Id.
In this case, the Court is satisfied Lupin has made a threshold showing that it was diligent
in moving to amend following its discovery of new information. The Court acknowledges
Plaintiff’s argument that Lupin was in possession of everything it needed to formulate its
invalidity defenses based on the Notice Letter. Lupin, however, disputes this point. See Lupin’s
July 22, 2013 Letter at 2 (“It was only through Plaintiff’s document production in this
litigation—and admissions contained therein—which confirmed that the prior art Ovcon product
is, as one of the ‘050 inventors admitted, ‘nearly identical’ to the purportedly ‘new’ patented
product. . . .”). The fact that the Parties dispute this point suggests that further discovery was
needed in order for Lupin to more fully develop its invalidity theories. That recent deposition
testimony has further revealed and/or confirmed Lupin’s Ovcon defenses also strongly supports
Plaintiff claims Lupin’s proposed amendments “would entail significant new discovery
and inevitably lead to additional motion practice as well as to a further extension of the
[discovery] schedule and unfairly prejudice Warner Chilcott.” Plaintiff’s July 1, 2013 Letter at 1.
As an initial matter, the Court is not persuaded that Lupin’s proposed amendments will
necessitate such wholesale changes. Fact discovery is ongoing, expert discovery has not begun,
and a trial date has not yet been set. The Court is inclined, therefore, to permit reasonable
modification to the existing schedule in order to ensure that this case is decided on its merits.
Nor is the Court persuaded that Plaintiff will be significantly prejudiced by permitting
Lupin’s amendments. Indeed, the amendments are supported by Plaintiff’s own document
production as well as statements made by named inventors during recent depositions. Moreover,
as Lupin points out, the prior art Ovcon product “was cited in Mylan’s Invalidity Contentions,
dated May 17, 2012, which were incorporated by reference in Lupin’s preliminary Invalidity
Contentions.” Lupin’s July 11, 2013 Letter at 1. Plaintiff, therefore, has had more than adequate
notice of the invalidity defenses Lupin proposes to add and/or expand upon and will not be
prejudiced if Lupin is permitted to do so.
Accordingly, for all of the reasons stated above,
IT IS on this 19th day of August, 2013,
ORDERED that Lupin’s Application for Leave to Amend its Invalidity Contentions is
GRANTED; and it is further
ORDERED that Lupin shall submit its Amended Invalidity Contentions by August 23,
2013; and is further
ORDERED that Plaintiff shall serve its Responses to Lupin’s Amended Invalidity
Contentions by September 6, 2013.
s/ Douglas E. Arpert____________
DOUGLAS E. ARPERT, U.S.M.J.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?