Elbit Systems Land and C4I Ltd. et al v. Hughes Network Systems, LLC et al
MEMORANDUM AND OPINION, REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS re #314 Opposed SEALED MOTION to Exclude the Opinions Offered by Christopher Martinez filed by Hughes Network Systems, LLC, #292 SEALED MOTION for Summary Judgment of Non-Infringement of Claim 28 of the '073 Patent for Lack of a "Means for Generating a Request" filed by Hughes Network Systems, LLC, BlueTide Communications, Inc., Country Home Investments, Inc., #293 MOTION for Summary Judgment Motion for Partial Summary Judgment of Non-Infringement for Hughes' GMR-1 Products filed by Hughes Network Systems, LLC, BlueTide Communications, Inc., Country Home Investments, Inc., #297 SEALED MOTION for Summary Judgment of Non-Infringement of Claims 2-5, 7-9, 11 and 12 of U.S. Patent No. 7,245,874 filed by Hughes Network Systems, LLC, #319 SEALED MOTION to Exclude Certain Opinions of Defendants' Damages Expert, Mr. W. Christopher Bakewell filed by Elbit Systems Land and C4I Ltd., Elbit Systems of America, LLC, #275 Opposed SEALED MOTION TO STRIKE EXPERT OPINIONS REGARDING STRICKEN PRIOR ART REFERENCES AND UNDISCLOSED INVALIDITY THEORIES filed by Elbit Systems Land and C4I Ltd., Elbit Systems of America, LLC, #312 SEALED MOTION to Exclude the Testimony of Dr. Stephen B. Wicker filed by Elbit Systems Land and C4I Ltd., Elbit Systems of America, LLC, #316 Opposed SEALED MOTION to Strike Portions of Elbit's Expert Reports that rely on Previously-Unidentified Infringement Theories filed by Hughes Network Systems, LLC, #277 SEALED MOTION to Exclude Elbit's New Priority Date Contentions for the '073 Patent filed by Hughes Network Systems, LLC, #295 SEALED MOTION for Summary Judgment of No Coopying of U.S. Patent No. 6,240,073 filed by Hughes Network Systems, LLC, BlueTide Communications, Inc., Country Home Investments, Inc., #372 SEALED MOTION TO TRANSFER UNDER 28 U.S.C. 1406 filed by Hughes Network Systems, LLC, BlueTide Communications, Inc., #315 SEALED MOTION to Strike Defendants' Experts Opinions regarding Previously-Undisclosed Non-Infringing Alternatives filed by Elbit Systems Land and C4I Ltd., Elbit Systems of America, LLC, #313 Opposed SEALED MOTION to Exclude Expert Testimony of Stephen G. Kunin filed by Hughes Network Systems, LLC, #291 SEALED MOTION for Summary Judgment of Noninfringement of the Switching Means of United States Patent No 6,240,073 filed by Hughes Network Systems, LLC, BlueTide Communications, Inc., Country Home Investments, Inc., #298 SEALED MOTION For Partial Summary Judgment of Non-Infringement of Claims 2-5, 7-9, 11 and 12 of U.S. Patent No. 7,245,874 filed by Hughes Network Systems, LLC, #296 SEALED MOTION for Summary Judgment of no Willfulness filed by Hughes Network Systems, LLC, #276 SEALED MOTION to Strike Elbit's '874 Patent Infringement Contentions filed by Hughes Network Systems, LLC, #294 SEALED MOTION for Partial Summary Judgment of No Damages with Respect to the '874 Patent filed by Hughes Network Systems, LLC, BlueTide Communications, Inc., Country Home Investments, Inc., #373 SEALED MOTION TO STAY PROCEEDINGS PENDING RESOLUTION OF PROPER VENUE filed by Hughes Network Systems, LLC, BlueTide Communications, Inc... Signed by Magistrate Judge Roy S. Payne on 6/20/2017. (ch, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
ELBIT SYSTEMS LAND AND C4I LTD.,
ELBIT SYSTEMS OF AMERICA, LLC,
HUGHES NETWORK SYSTEMS, LLC,
BLUETIDE COMMUNICATIONS, INC.,
COUNTRY HOME INVESTMENTS, INC.,
Case No. 2:15-CV-00037-RWS-RSP
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER AND
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Before the Court are the following motions:
Plaintiffs’ Motion to Strike Expert Opinions Regarding Stricken Prior Art References And
Undisclosed Invalidity Theories (Dkt. 275) (“Elbit’s Motion to Strike Invalidity
Defendant Hughes Network Systems, LLC’s Motion to Strike Elbit’s ’874 Patent
Infringement Contentions (Dkt. 276) (“Hughes’ Motion to Strike Infringement
Defendant Hughes’s Motion to Exclude Elbit’s New Priority Date Contentions for the ’073
Patent (Dkt. 277) (“Hughes’ Priority Date Motion”).
Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment of Noninfringement of the Switching Means
of United States Patent No. 6,240,073 (Dkt. 291) (“Defendants’ ‘Switching Means’
Defendants Motion for Summary Judgment of Non-Infringement of Claim 28 of the ’073
Patent for Lack of a “Means For Generating A Request” (Dkt. 292) (“Defendants’ ‘Means
for Generating Request’ Motion”).
Defendants’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment of Non-Infringement for Hughes’
GMR-1 Products (Dkt. 293) (“Defendants’ GMR-1 Products Motion”).
Defendants’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment of No Damages With Respect to the
’874 Patent (Dkt. 294) (“Defendants’ Damages Motion”)
Defendant Hughes Network Systems, LLC’s Motion for Summary Judgment of No
Copying of U.S. Patent No. 6, 240,073 (Dkt. 295) (“Hughes’ Copying Motion”)
Defendant Hughes Network Systems, LLC’s Motion for Summary Judgment of No
Willfulness (Dkt. 296) (“Hughes’ Willfulness Motion”).
Defendant Hughes Network Systems, LLC’s Motion for Summary Judgment of No PreSuit Damages Based on Plaintiffs’ Failure to Comply with 35 U.S.C. § 287 (Dkt. 297)
(“Hughes’ Marking Motion”).
Defendant Hughes Network Systems, LLC’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment of
Non-Infringement of Claims 2-5, 7-9, 11, and 12 of U.S. Patent No. 7,245,874 (Dkt. 298)
(“Motion for Summary Judgment of Noninfringement of the ’874 Patent”).
Plaintiffs’ Motion to Exclude the Testimony of Dr. Stephen B. Wicker (Dkt. 312) (“Elbit’s
Infringement Expert Motion”).
Defendant Hughes Network Systems, LLC’s Motion to Exclude Expert Testimony of
Stephen G. Kunin (Dkt. 313) (“Hughes’ Motion to Exclude Patent Office Expert
Defendants’ Daubert Motion to Exclude the Opinions Offered by Christopher Martinez
(Dkt. 314) (“Defendants’ Motion to Exclude Damages Expert Testimony”).
Plaintiffs’ Motion to Strike Defendants’ Experts Opinions Regarding PreviouslyUndisclosed Non-Infringing Alternatives (Dkt. 315) (“Plaintiffs’ Motion to Strike NonInfringing Alternatives”
Hughes’ Motion to Strike Portions of Elbit’s Expert Reports that Rely on PreviouslyUnidentified Infringement Theories (Dkt. 316) (“Hughes’ Motion to Strike Infringement
Plaintiffs’ Motion to Exclude Certain Opinions of Defendants’ Damages Expert, Mr. W.
Christopher Bakewell (Dkt. 319) (“Elbit’s Motion to Exclude Damages Expert
Defendants Hughes Network Systems, LLC And BlueTide Communications, Inc.’s Motion
to Transfer Under 28 U.S.C. § 1406 (Dkt. 372) (“Defendants’ Motion to Transfer”).
Defendants Hughes Network Systems, LLC And BlueTide Communications, Inc.’s Motion
to Stay Proceedings Pending Resolution of Proper Venue (Dkt. 373) (“Defendants’ Motion
The Court resolves the nondispositive motions and provides recommendations for the
pending motions for summary judgment as follows. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 72.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
BACKGROUND ............................................................................................................................ 4
DISCUSSION ................................................................................................................................. 4
Defendants’ Motions for Summary Judgment ................................................................. 4
Motions for Summary Judgment of Noninfringement of the ’073 Patent .................... 5
Defendants’ Damages Motion (Dkt. 294) .................................................................... 8
Hughes’ Copying Motion (Dkt. 295) ........................................................................... 9
Hughes’ Willfulness Motion (Dkt. 296) ..................................................................... 10
Hughes’ Marking Motion (Dkt. 297) ......................................................................... 12
Motion for Summary Judgment of Noninfringement of the ’874 Patent (Dkt. 298).. 14
Motions to Strike or Exclude Contentions or Opinions ................................................. 15
Elbit’s Motion to Strike Invalidity Opinions (Dkt. 275) ............................................ 15
Hughes’ Motion to Strike Infringement Contentions (Dkt. 276) ............................... 17
Hughes’ Priority Date Motion (Dkt. 277) .................................................................. 18
Plaintiffs’ Motion to Strike Non-Infringing Alternatives (Dkt. 315) ......................... 20
Hughes’ Motion to Strike Infringement Opinions (Dkt. 316) .................................... 23
Daubert Motions ............................................................................................................ 27
Elbit’s Infringement Expert Motion (Dkt. 312).......................................................... 27
Hughes’ Motion to Exclude Patent Office Expert Testimony (Dkt. 313) .................. 29
Defendants’ Motion to Exclude Damages Expert Testimony (Dkt. 314) .................. 31
Elbit's Motion to Exclude Damages Expert Testimony (Dkt. 319) ............................ 34
Defendants’ Motions to Transfer and Stay (Dkts. 372 and 373) ................................... 36
Relevant Procedural Background ............................................................................... 37
Waiver of Venue Defense........................................................................................... 38
Defendants’ Pending Motion to Transfer under § 1404 (Dkt. 130) ........................... 41
CONCLUSION ............................................................................................................................. 44
This is a patent infringement case brought by Elbit Systems Land and C4I Ltd and Elbit
Systems of America LLC (collectively, “Elbit”). Elbit accuses Hughes Networks Systems, LLC
(“Hughes”), BlueTide Communications, Inc. (“BlueTide”), and Country Home Investments, Inc.
(“Country Home”) of infringing U.S. Patent Nos. 6,240,073 (“the ’073 patent”) and 7,245,874
(“the ’874 patent”), both of which relate generally to satellite communication systems.
A. Defendants’ Motions for Summary Judgment
Defendants move for summary judgment on various claims and issues underlying Elbit’s
infringement and damages contentions. Summary judgment must be granted when there is no
genuine issue as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). “A genuine issue of material fact exists ‘if the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party.’” Crawford v. Formosa Plastics
Corp., La., 234 F.3d 899, 902 (5th Cir. 2000) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242, 248 (1986)). The court must consider evidence in the record in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of that party. Thorson v. Epps, 701
F.3d 444, 445 (5th Cir. 2012). The moving party must identify the portions of the record that
demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 323 (1986). Once a party has made that showing, the non-moving party bears the burden of
establishing otherwise. Geiserman v. MacDonald, 893 F.2d 787, 793 (5th Cir. 1990) (citing
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323). The non-moving party cannot “rest upon mere allegations or denials”
in the pleadings, but “must set forth specific facts showing there is a genuine issue for trial.”
Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 248. Thus, summary judgment “is appropriate if the non-movant ‘fails
to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party’s case.’”
Bluebonnet Hotel Ventures, LLC v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 754 F.3d 272, 276 (5th Cir. 2014)
(quoting Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322).
1. Motions for Summary Judgment of Noninfringement of the ’073 Patent
a) Defendants’ “Switching Means” Motion (Dkt. 291)
The asserted ’073 patent claims recite a “switching means . . . for switching transmission
between said first communication means and said second communication means in accordance
with predefined criteria.” See, e.g., ’073 patent at 22:66-23:2. The Court construed the switching
means limitation as a means-plus-function term governed by 35 U.S.C. § 112, ¶ 6. Dkt. 208, at 30.
The Court defined the corresponding structure as “modem 160 or PC 150 including driver layer
158 performing the algorithms disclosed in the ’073 Patent at 10:30-11:40 or Figure 8, and
equivalents thereof.” Id. Hughes contends that “[i]n the ’073 Patent, the modem 160 and the PC
150 are part of the terminal and not part of the hub.” See Dkt. 291 at 4 (citing ’073 Patent, Fig. 7).
According to Hughes, Elbit has failed to identify “switching means” structure at or within the
terminal, but rather only identifies structure at the hub, and thus summary judgment of
noninfringement should be granted Id. at 9.
Elbit’s expert, Bruce Elbert, opines to the contrary. Mr. Elbert explains that the accused
terminals begin transmitting in random access mode, and when a terminal receives user data, the
terminal compares the size of the data to the amount of space in the Aloha transmission. See Dkt.
318-2 ¶¶ 301-19. Based on that comparison, Mr. Elbert opines that the terminal decides whether
to switch to an allocated channel, depending on whether the user data fit within the Aloha
transmission. Id. The terminal then allegedly waits for the hub to acknowledge that a specific
channel has been assigned. Id. This algorithm, according to Mr. Elbert, is consistent with the one
disclosed in the ’073 patent at 10:30-11:40. See Dkt. 318 at 8. Mr. Elbert’s testimony attributes the
decision to switch transmission to the terminal, and thus this testimony “at least raises a genuine
issue of material fact” concerning infringement. See Vasudevan Software, Inc. v. MicroStrategy,
Inc., 782 F.3d 671, 683 (Fed. Cir. 2015).
Hughes argues Elbit is estopped from making such arguments because of statements Elbit
made during inter partes review. This argument is are not persuasive. Mr. Elbert’s testimony
appears consistent with representations Elbit made to the Patent Office concerning where the
decision to switch occurs. The Court therefore RECOMMENDS Defendants’ “Switching Means”
Motion be denied.
b) Defendants’ “Means for Generating Request” Motion (Dkt. 292)
Claim 28 of the ’073 patent recites a “means for generating a request.” This means-plusfunction limitation corresponds to algorithms described in the specification. One algorithm
requires that the generated request include a requested date. See Dkt. 292 at 1. The other alternative
algorithm requires the request to be based on an evaluation of a port number. See id. Hughes argues
the accused terminals do not generate a request including a requested data rate or port number. See
id. Thus, according to Hughes, summary judgment of noninfringement of claim 28 should be
Elbit’s expert testimony, however, raises a material factual dispute. Mr. Elbert explains
how the accused products satisfy the “means for generating a request” limitation, and Mr. Elbert
includes an analysis of how the accused structures are equivalent to the structure corresponding to
the claim limitation. See Dkt. 318-2 ¶¶ 451-54, 458-61. Infringement under the doctrine of
equivalents is a “highly factual inquiry.” Jeneric/Pentron, Inc. v. Dillon Co., Inc., 205 F.3d 1377,
1384 (Fed. Cir. 2000). Mr. Elbert’s testimony suggesting that the “means for generating” limitation
is met under the function-way-results or substantial similarity tests precludes the grant of summary
judgment. See Vasudevan Software, 782 F.3d at 683 (Fed. Cir. 2015). The Court therefore
RECOMMENDS Defendants’ “Means for Generating Request” Motion be denied.
c) Defendants’ GMR-1 Products Motion (Dkt. 293)
Defendants explain that Elbit originally accused Hughes’ products that comply with the
GMR-1 standard of infringing the ’073 patent. Dkt. 293 at 1. Elbit did not, however, include
opinions concerning these infringement theories in its expert report, and Elbit acknowledges that
it will not pursue such theories at trial. Id. As a result, Defendants contend they are entitled to
summary judgment of noninfringement as to the GMR-1 products. Id.
The Court disagrees. Elbit voluntarily dropped the GMR-1 products before expert
discovery—an action that is similar to amending a complaint or voluntarily dismissing claims
without prejudice. See Sandisk Corp v. Kingston Tech. Co., 695 F. 3d 1348, 1353 (treating a
plaintiff’s withdrawal of asserted claims “as being akin to either a [Fed. R. Civ. P.] 15 amendment
to the complaint, or a Rule 41(a) voluntary dismissal of claims without prejudice”) (citations
omitted). Defendants highlight that Elbit refuses to enter into a stipulation dismissing the GMR-1
products from the case, but Defendants do not cite authority suggesting Elbit has an obligation to
do so. See Alcon Research Ltd. v. Barr Labs., Inc., 745 F.3d 1180, 1193 (Fed. Cir. 2014) (“[W]e
have not previously held that a formal motion or stipulation was required to remove claims from
a case and we decline to do so here. On the contrary, we recently decided that a patentee’s
announcement that it was no longer pursuing certain claims, coupled with its ceasing to litigate
them, was sufficient to remove those claims from the case even without such formalities.”). The
Court therefore RECOMMENDS Defendants’ GMR-1 Products Motion be denied.
2. Defendants’ Damages Motion (Dkt. 294)
Hughes contends that it is entitled to summary judgment of no damages arising from the
alleged infringement of the ’874 patent because Elbit’s damages expert, Mr. Christopher Martinez,
“offers no opinion on damages for the ’874 Patent.” Dkt. 294 at 1. According to Hughes, there is
no other evidence in the record on which Elbit may rely, and thus summary judgment of no
damages is appropriate. Id.
Hughes’ own damages expert’s report, however, is part of the summary judgment record,
and the report includes Mr. Christopher Bakewell’s opinion that the appropriate royalty for the
“alleged infringement of the patents-in-suit is a lump-sum of no greater than $3.5 million, which
can be allocated as $2.5 million for the ’073 patent and $1 million for the ’874 patent.” Dkt. 3191 ¶ 559. Hughes argues this report is not competent summary judgment evidence because it is
hearsay, but Hughes’ argument appears to conflict with Fifth Circuit law finding an opponent’s
expert’s statement admissible under Rule 801(d)(2)(c). See, e.g., Collins v. Wayne Corp., 621 F.2d
777, 782 (5th Cir. 1980) (statement by expert nonhearsay because expert “was performing the
function that [the party opponent] had employed him to perform.”).
The Court need not reach the hearsay issue, however, because there is other summary
judgment evidence suggesting that a zero royalty is not the only reasonable royalty for the ’874
patent. Mr. Bakewell opines that products accused of infringing the ’874 patent “are a subset of
those that are accused of infringing the ’073 patent.” See Dkt. 319-1, ¶ 325. Mr. Martinez opines
that the parties would have had a single hypothetical negotiation for both asserted patents, and
Mr. Martinez’s testimony can be regarded as proffering a non-zero royalty opinion for the ’874
patent; otherwise, there would have been no need to opine that a “joint” hypothetical negotiation
for both asserted patents would have occurred. See Dkt. 321 at 4.
“At summary judgment, as is the case here, a judge may only award a zero royalty for
infringement if there is no genuine issue of material fact that zero is the only reasonable royalty.”
Apple Inc. v. Motorola, Inc., 757 F.3d 1286, 1328 (Fed. Cir. 2014). The contrary authority cited
by Hughes—Unicom Monitoring, LLC v. Cencom, Inc., No. CIV.A. 06-1166 MLC, 2013 WL
1704300, at *6 (D.N.J. Apr. 19, 2013)—was decided before Apple. Indeed, Unicom relies on the
summary judgment decision vacated by the panel in Apple, i.e., Apple, Inc. v. Motorola Inc., 869
F.Supp.2d 901 (N.D.Ill.2012) (Posner, J., sitting by designation). In sum, because the summary
judgment evidence does not suggest that zero is the only reasonable royalty for the ’874 patent,
the Court RECOMMENDS Defendants’ Damages Motion be denied.
3. Hughes’ Copying Motion (Dkt. 295)
Hughes seeks summary judgment that Hughes did not copy the invention claimed in the
’073 patent, which, according to Hughes, should preclude Elbit from relying on copying as
objective evidence of nonobviousness. See Dkt. 295. Hughes contends Elbit has not shown
copying of “a specific product,” id. at 5, because Shiron (Elbit’s predecessor) “did not have a
product practicing the ’073 Patent until 2003, two years after Hughes began selling the allegedly
infringing [product],” Dkt. 324 at 1.
To establish copying, a patent owner may present evidence that an accused infringer
replicated the patentee’s product rather than independently develop its own product. See Wyers v.
Master Lock Co., 616 F.3d 1231, 1246 (Fed. Cir. 2010). The patent owner need not establish that
the accused infringer copied a specific physical product embodied by an issued patent—copying a
written formula or prototype is sufficient, for example. Advanced Display Systems, Inc. v. Kent
State University, 212 F.3d 1272, 1276 (Fed. Cir. 2000). Indeed, an accused infringer’s efforts to
replicate a claimed invention from the disclosure in a patent or patent application may be sufficient.
DePuy Spine, Inc. v. Medtronic Sofamor Danek, Inc., 567 F.3d 1314, 1328-29 (Fed. Cir. 2009).
Consistent with this standard, Elbit presents evidence of a presentation (albeit before the
’073 patent issued) in which Shiron showed Hughes a confidential proposal for a “high-speed
return link via satellite” product, similar to the written formula in Advanced Display Systems. See
212 F.3d at 127; Dkt. 322 at 19. Elbit also presents evidence that Hughes was generally familiar
with Shiron and Elbit’s products and, on one occasion in 2014, compared Hughes’ products with
Elbit’s products as part of an effort to secure a contract. See Dkt. 295-8 at 14.
Hughes and Elbit are competitors, which gives credence to this evidence. See WBIP, LLC
v. Kohler Co., 829 F.3d 1317, 1336 (Fed. Cir. 2016) (“The fact that a competitor copied technology
suggests it would not have been obvious.”). Hughes contends that Elbit fails to show a nexus
between the alleged copying and the patented invention, but Elbit provides reasonably-supported
expert testimony on the matter, thus reducing the dispute to a factual one for the jury to resolve.
See Dkt. 322; WBIP, 829 F.3d at 1336 (“Copying is a question of fact and, as with any question of
fact, the fact-finder (here, the jury) was entitled to credit WBIP’s evidence over Kohler’s.”). The
Court therefore RECOMMENDS Hughes’ Copying Motion be denied.
4. Hughes’ Willfulness Motion (Dkt. 296)
Hughes seeks summary judgment of no willfulness because Elbit “cannot point to evidence
that is sufficient, as a matter of law, to show that Hughes willfully infringed” the asserted patents.
Dkt. 296 at 1. In response to Hughes’ motion, Elbit highlights evidence supporting its contention
that Hughes knew the asserted patents were valid and infringed. For example, Elbit points to
evidence that its predecessor, Shiron, presented an embodiment of the ’073 patent to Hughes’
senior executives in 1997, that Hughes had knowledge of the asserted patents through
correspondence between Hughes’ in-house counsel and Shiron’s agent, and that Hughes’ in-house
counsel and senior engineers possessed claim charts detailing how Hughes’ products are
encompassed by the asserted patent claims. See, e.g., Dkt. 322 at 2-3, 6-9.
There is sufficient evidence to create a fact dispute as to Hughes’ state of mind before
beginning the allegedly infringing conduct. Determining willfulness is a fact-based endeavor.
Hughes argues that it had good faith reasons to believe that the patent did not encompass the
accused system and that the patent was invalid. See Dkt. 296. Indeed, Hughes’ summary judgment
motions of noninfringement provide support for the contention that it was at least not clear that the
asserted patents were both valid and infringed. The Supreme Court has explained, however, that
the issue of willfulness turns not on the objective reasonableness of a defendant’s conduct, but on
the defendant’s subjective beliefs. Halo Elecs., Inc. v. Pulse Elecs., Inc., 136 S. Ct. 1923, 1933
(2016) (“The subjective willfulness of a patent infringer, intentional or knowing, may warrant
enhanced damages, without regard to whether his infringement was objectively reckless.”).
A jury might conclude from Hughes’ objective evidence that Hughes did not subjectively
believe it was infringing a valid patent. See WesternGeco L.L.C. v. Ion Geophysical Corp., 837
F.3d 1358, 1363 (Fed. Cir. 2016) (even after Halo, the objective reasonableness of the accused
infringer’s positions can still be relevant to § 284). But Hughes has not offered other summary
judgment evidence regarding its executives’ subjective beliefs. Given the state of the evidence, the
Court cannot conclude that it would be unreasonable for a jury to find Hughes knew the asserted
patents were valid and infringed. The Court therefore RECOMMENDS Hughes’ Willfulness
Motion be denied.
The Court is nevertheless mindful of the Supreme Court’s clarification that case law has
channeled courts’ discretion in granting enhanced damages under § 284—limiting the award of
such damages “to egregious cases of misconduct beyond typical infringement.” Halo, 136 S. Ct.
at 1935. The Court will be in a better position after receiving the evidence at trial to determine
whether Elbit has demonstrated the level of willfulness necessary to warrant enhanced damages if
5. Hughes’ Marking Motion (Dkt. 297)
Hughes moves for summary judgment of no pre-suit damages under the ’073 patent
because Elbit allegedly failed to comply with the notice requirements of the marking statute, 35
U.S.C. § 287(a). According to Hughes, because Elbit failed to comply with the statute, damages
may only accrue from January 21, 2015, the date Elbit filed suit.
“The patent marking statute limits recoverable damages where a patentee fails to mark her
patented products.” Power Integrations, Inc. v. Fairchild Semiconductor Int’l, Inc., 711 F.3d 1348,
1378 (Fed. Cir. 2013) cert. denied, 134 S. Ct. 900 (2014). “Where a patentee does not appropriately
mark her products, she may not recover damages for infringement occurring before notice to the
infringer.” Id. The statute provides two ways to provide notice: a patentee can (1) provide actual
notice; or (2) provide constructive notice “by affixing . . . the word ‘patent‘ or the abbreviation
‘pat.’, together with the number of the patent” on patented articles sold by the patentee or its
licensees. 35 U.S.C. § 287. “[A] party that does not mark a patented article is not entitled to
damages for infringement prior to actual notice.” Crown Packaging Tech., Inc. v. Rexam Beverage
Can Co., 559 F.3d 1308, 1316 (Fed. Cir. 2009).
“For purposes of section 287(a), [actual] notice must be of ‘the infringement,’ not merely
notice of the patent’s existence or ownership. Actual notice requires the affirmative
communication of a specific charge of infringement by a specific accused product or device.”
Amsted Indus. Inc. v. Buckeye Steel Castings Co., 24 F.3d 178, 187 (Fed. Cir. 1994) (quoting
§ 287(a)). “It is irrelevant . . . whether the defendant knew of the patent or knew of his own
infringement. The correct approach to determining notice under section 287 must focus on the
action of the patentee, not the knowledge or understanding of the infringer.” Id.
Elbit identifies sufficient summary judgment evidence to create a fact dispute concerning
whether Hughes had actual notice of the ’073 patent and the charge of infringement. A juror could
conclude that iLeverage’s former CEO, Uzi Aloush, provided actual notice sufficient to satisfy the
marking statute. Mr. Aloush testified that iLeverage “had the right to act as the exclusive
worldwide agent to commercialize” the ’073 patent. See Dkt. 322-11 at 35:24-36:8. Mr. Aloush
explained that during talks with Hughes about a license to the ’073 patent, he told Hughes that it
infringed the patent. See id. at 139:2-140:9. Hughes corroborates that such talks took place through
an interrogatory response stating that “[i]n 2008, Hughes was approached by iLeverage regarding
Shiron’s patents, including U.S. Patent Nos. 6,240,073 or 7,245,874. At that time, Hughes
communicated with iLeverage regarding U.S. Patent Nos. 6,240,073 or 7,245,874.” Dkt. 322-25
Hughes’ argument in response to this evidence is that § 287 is an affirmative step that must
be taken by the patentee, and that the iLeverage talks do not qualify because iLeverage “did not
have authority from Shiron to accuse Hughes of infringement.” Dkt. 324 at 8. To support this
argument, Hughes cites the following testimony from Mr. Aloush’s deposition:
Q: You did not have any authority from Shiron to make any
accusation of patent infringement; is that correct?
A: We were brokers. We were not lawyers. It was not a cease and
desist letter. It was just an offer for sale.
Dkt. 297-8 at 156:14-157:17. This testimony, however, does not suggest that iLeverage could not
have provided actual notice of the patent and the charge of infringement, as Shiron’s agent, in a
manner sufficient to comply with the marking statute.
If Hughes is arguing that iLeverage would not have been considered an effective patentee
when it offered to sell the system allegedly covered by the ’073 patent, Hughes’ argument is not
clear. “[I]f the patentee transfers all substantial rights under the patent, it amounts to an assignment
and the assignee may be deemed the effective patentee under 35 U.S.C. § 281 for purposes of
holding constitutional standing to sue another for patent infringement in its own name.” See, e.g.,
Sicom Sys., Ltd. v. Agilent Techs., Inc., 427 F.3d 971, 976 (Fed. Cir. 2005). It follows that if an
effective patentee provides actual notice of the patent and the charge of infringement, the marking
statute could have been satisfied. Mr. Aloush described iLeverage as Shiron’s “exclusive agent,”
and Hughes has not met its summary judgment burden of establishing that iLeverage could not
have been an effective patentee. A material fact issue as to the scope and extent of iLeverage’s
agency relationship exists. If iLeverage was effectively the patentee for purposes of standing, a
reasonable juror could conclude that iLeverage provided actual notice of the ’073 patent and the
charge of infringement. The Court therefore RECOMMENDS Hughes’ Marking Motion be
6. Motion for Summary Judgment of Noninfringement of the ’874 Patent (Dkt. 298)
Hughes moves for partial summary judgment of noninfringement of claims 2-5, 7-9, 11,
and 12 of the ’874 patent. Hughes explains that each of these claims depends from a claim requiring
“conversion between two protocols,” namely “E1” and “TCP/IP.” Dkt. 298 at 1. According to
Hughes, “[t]he third party devices provided by Hughes do not convert to or use TCP/IP for cellular
backhaul under any circumstances.” Id. “Instead, they use a different protocol known as UDP.” Id.
Thus, according to Hughes, “Elbit has no evidence of infringement of the dependent claims of the
’874 patent.” Id.
The Court does not agree. Both Elbit’s and Hughes’ technical experts agree that “TCP/IP
refers to a suite of protocols that may be used to interconnect network devices on the Internet.”
See Dkt. 321 at 5-6 (citing expert reports). On the basis of the summary judgment record, a
reasonable juror could therefore conclude that UDP is a member of the TCP/IP family, and that if
the accused products convert to the UDP protocol, they are encompassed by claims 2-5, 7-9, 11,
and 12 of the ’874 patent.
To the extent Hughes’ motion for summary judgment is based on an untimely claim
construction position regarding the meaning of “TCP/IP,” as that term is used in the asserted
claims, Hughes waived these arguments by not raising them earlier. See, e.g., Cent. Admixture
Pharmacy Servs., Inc. v. Advanced Cardiac Sols., P.C., 482 F.3d 1347, 1356 (Fed. Cir. 2007)
(“The district court found that [defendants] waived any argument with respect to this term by
failing to raise it during the claim construction phase. We agree.”); Fenner Inv., Ltd. v. Microsoft
Corp., 632 F. Supp. 2d 627, 638 (E.D. Tex. 2009) (“Because this argument is contrary to the claim
construction order and was not raised prior to or even following the claim construction hearing it
is waived.”), aff’d sub nom. Fenner Investments, Ltd. v. Microsoft Corp., 369 F. App’x 132 (Fed.
Cir. 2010). The Court therefore RECOMMENDS Hughes’ Motion for Summary Judgment of
Noninfringement of the ’874 Patent be denied.
B. Motions to Strike or Exclude Contentions or Opinions
1. Elbit’s Motion to Strike Invalidity Opinions (Dkt. 275)
Elbit asks the Court to strike the following two portions of Dr. Stephen Wicker’s expert
report: (1) prior art references previously struck by the Court because Hughes failed to disclose
the references through invalidity contentions, namely U.S. Patent No. 5,978,386 (“Hämäläinen”)
and U.S. Patent No. 7,050,456 (“Sprague”); and (2) a prior art product known as “LANAdvantage”
that Hughes allegedly failed to disclose through contentions. See Dkt. 275 at 1.
With respect to the first portion of Dr. Wicker’s report, Hughes argues there is no dispute,
while Elbit contends otherwise. Hughes states it agreed, “it would not seek to present the
Hämäläinen and Sprague references without first obtaining leave of Court” and that “that Elbit
was not required to present an expert rebuttal for those references unless the Court grants Hughes
leave to assert them.” Dkt. 286 at 1. Hughes therefore suggests that “there was no dispute on this
issue at the time Elbit filed its motion to strike, nor is there any dispute now.” Id. Elbit’s reply brief
nonetheless explains that Hughes’ position on the Hämäläinen and Sprague references is not as
clear as Hughes would have the Court believe. Dkt. 290 at 1-2.
The Court previously struck the Hämäläinen and Sprague references from Hughes’
invalidity contentions because Hughes failed to timely disclose them or offer an adequate
explanation for the delay. See Dkt. 242 at 1; Dkt. 249 (Hearing Transcript). Though it is unclear
whether a dispute about these references exists, Dr. Wicker opines that claim 1 of the ’874 patent
is obvious in view of a combination of references including Hämäläinen or Sprague. See Dkt. 2752 at 1292, 1323. To clear the record and resolve any dispute that exists or that may arise, the Court
GRANTS Elbit’s motion as to the Hämäläinen and Sprague references and STRIKES portions of
Dr. Wicker’s report that rely on these references to demonstrate obviousness, specifically
paragraphs 1,118-1,264. See Dkt. 275-2.
As for the second disputed portion of Dr. Wicker’s report, Elbit argues Dr. Wicker
introduces a new invalidity theory relying on an undisclosed add-on to Hughes’ Personal Earth
Station (“PES”) system prior art—the LANAdvantage feature—which allegedly provided
Internet-related functionality to the PES. Dkt. 275 at 6. While the phrase “LANAdvantage” may
not have appeared in Hughes’ invalidity contentions, Hughes disclosed that the PES included
Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) functionality, and Hughes cited the
corresponding source code. See Dkt. 286 at 1. Elbit demands granularity not required by the local
patent rules. Because Hughes adequately disclosed PES’s underlying functionality, the Court
DENIES Elbit’s motion as to the LANAdvantage feature.
2. Hughes’ Motion to Strike Infringement Contentions (Dkt. 276)
Hughes moves to strike Elbit’s infringement contentions regarding the ’874 patent for
failure to comply with Local Patent Rule 3-1. Dkt. 276 at 1. Hughes contends Elbit “invoked P.R.
3-1(g) for seven claim elements in the asserted claims” yet failed to comply with P.R. 3-1(g)’s
requirement that source code corresponding to the claim element be identified 30 days after the
opposing party produces the relevant code. Id.; Local Pat. R. 3-1(g) (included in Discovery Order,
Dkt. 55 at 2-3). Elbit argues it fully complied with Local Patent Rule 3-1’s requirements by timely
serving infringement contentions with an element-by-element analysis and supporting documents,
and Elbit merely reserved the right to supplement these contentions for software limitations after
it received relevant source code.
Local Patent 3-1(g) has a clear purpose. The Rule affords a party alleging infringement an
opportunity to delay compliance with Patent Rule 3-1’s requirements for claim elements that may
be satisfied by source code that has not yet been produced. After production of the source code,
the party claiming infringement must update its infringement contentions by identifying the
portions of the code that satisfy relevant claim elements within 30 days. The Rule does not,
however, bind a party that refers to a claim element as a “software limitation” to later identify
corresponding source code. The Rule merely gives the party a delayed option of doing so. If a
party discloses how a “software limitation” is met without reference to source code, and the party’s
disclosure otherwise meets Local Patent Rule 3-1’s requirements, there may be no need to later
update infringement contentions with references to source code.
Elbit charted certain software limitations by identifying documents allegedly establishing
the existence of the limitations in the accused system—without reference to third-party source
code. See Dkt. 276-2. Elbit’s contentions also included the following statement:
Pursuant to the Court’s Discovery Order (Dkt. 55) and P.R. 3-1(g),
Plaintiffs state on information and belief that further evidence for
this limitation resides in the source code for the Accused
Instrumentalities. Plaintiffs reserve the right to supplement after
production of the source code for the Accused Instrumentalities.
See, e.g., id. at 7. Although Elbit reserved the right to supplement its contentions with laterproduced source code, it had no obligation to do so simply because it identified claim elements as
“software limitations” or because it believed at the time that further evidence for those limitations
would exist in third-party source code. Because Elbit did not violate Rule 3-1(g), Hughes’ motion
to strike is DENIED.
3. Hughes’ Priority Date Motion (Dkt. 277)
Hughes moves to exclude Elbit’s contention that asserted claims of the ’073 patent are
entitled to a priority date earlier than the patent’s November 14, 1997 filing date. Dkt. No. 277 at
1. There have been prior disputes surrounding the ’073 patent’s priority date and Hughes’
interrogatory question concerning priority. See Dkt. 277 at 2-4. Suffice it to say that until January
2017, Elbit disclosed to Hughes and represented to the Court that the ’073 patent’s priority date is
November 14, 1997—the filing date. Id. Elbit’s position changed on January 9, 2017, shortly
before the close of fact discovery, when Elbit disclosed to Hughes that the ’073 patent is entitled
to a priority date nine months earlier than the filing date—February 11, 1997—based on an earlier
conception and reduction to practice. See Dkt. 277-2 at 9-11.
Elbit argues its change in position was justified. See Dkt. 288. According to Elbit, it
changed its priority contention shortly after Hughes disclosed a new prior art system based on
documents dated less than one year before the ’073 patent’s filing date. See id. at 1; 35 U.S.C.
§ 102(a). Elbit also argues its new position was not untimely under Rule 26(e)(1) because it was
disclosed within the fact discovery period. See Dkt. 288 at 1.
Hughes’ interrogatory understandably sought to commit Elbit to a priority date. The Local
Patent Rules encourage a party claiming infringement to identify the priority date for asserted
claims early in a case. See Local Patent Rule 3-1(e). In many instances, a party claiming
infringement will possess facts supporting priority before bringing the lawsuit. Even when
discovery reveals an unforeseen earlier priority date, there is rarely a justifiable excuse for shifting
a priority date contention near the end of fact discovery.
Elbit’s change in priority date was untimely under Rule 26(e)(1) because it is undisputed
that Elbit possessed the underlying facts at least by September 2016. Yet Elbit did not update its
interrogatory response until January 2017, nine days before fact discovery closed. Accordingly,
the question is whether Elbit’s untimely disclosure is harmless. See CQ, Inc. v. TXU Min. Co.,
L.P., 565 F.3d 268, 280 (5th Cir. 2009) (considering “(1) [the party’s] explanation for its failure
to disclose the evidence, (2) the importance of the evidence, (3) the potential prejudice to [the
opposing party] in allowing the evidence, and (4) the availability of a continuance”).
Elbit does not adequately explain the delay. While Hughes may have supplemented an
invalidity contention based on prior art documents dated less than one year before the ’073 patent’s
filing date, Elbit had an incentive to trace the ’073 patent’s priority date to as far back as possible
in light of other asserted prior art references allegedly made public in 1997. See Dkt. 277 at 8 n.2.
Elbit has known about such references since January 2015. While Elbit’s attempt to antedate a
prior art defense is undoubtedly important, the prejudice to Hughes is significant. Hughes
justifiably developed invalidity positions under the assumption that the ’073 patent is entitled to a
priority date no earlier than its filing date. Finally, any continuance would delay trial, which is
about a month away. See S&W Enters., L.L.C. v. SouthTrust Bank of Ala., N.A., 315 F.3d 533, 537
(5th Cir. 2003) (affirming district court’s refusal to grant continuance when it would
“unnecessarily delay the trial”). Elbit has therefore failed to show its discovery violation is
harmless. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(c)(1) (If a party fails to provide information as required by Rule
26(e), “the party is not allowed to use that information . . . to supply evidence . . . at a trial, unless
the failure was substantially justified or is harmless.”).
Hughes’ Priority Date Motion is GRANTED. Elbit may not present evidence or argue that
the ’073 patent is entitled to a priority date earlier than its filing date, i.e., November 14, 1997.
Additionally, Elbit is precluded from presenting evidence or argument that the inventors listed on
the ’073 patent reduced the invention to practice earlier than November 14, 1997.
4. Plaintiffs’ Motion to Strike Non-Infringing Alternatives (Dkt. 315)
Elbit asks the Court to prevent Dr. Wicker and Mr. Bakewell from offering opinions on
alleged noninfringing alternatives provided by iDirect, Iridium and Gilat. See Dkt. 315. According
to Elbit, Dr. Wicker disclosed Defendants’ reliance on these noninfringing alternatives for the first
time in his March 6, 2017 rebuttal report. Id. at 3. Mr. Bakewell in turn cites to Dr. Wicker’s
noninfringing alternatives analysis in his report. Id.
Defendants do not dispute that the iDirect, Iridium and Gilat products were not disclosed
during discovery. Rather, Defendants rely on a loophole in the Federal Rules governing responses
to interrogatories. See Dkt. 329 at 2. Elbit served Hughes (and only Hughes) with one interrogatory
related to non-infringing alternatives, and Hughes “respond[ed] to that interrogatory with the
information available to Hughes.” Id. at 2. The iDirect, Iridium and Gilat products, however, are
only sold by other Defendants, most notably BlueTide. Id. at 1. Hughes therefore contends
information concerning these products was not available to Hughes, and because the other
Defendants were not served with the non-infringing alternatives interrogatory, Defendants were
not obligated to disclose the iDirect, Iridium and Gilat products. Id. at 1-2.
The record nevertheless suggests that Hughes had knowledge of at least Gilat’s “SkyEdge”
product and the iDirect product. See Dkt. 353-1, 353-2. Deposition testimony reveals that BlueTide
had little if any technical expertise necessary to understand whether the products it sells do or do
not infringe the asserted claims. See Dkt. 353-3 at 263:3-18. Defendants’ experts only state that
they relied on other experts and one of Hughes’ executives, and there is no mention of these
experts’ reliance on BlueTide documents or witnesses for any of the three products. See Dkt. 353
Defendants therefore had an obligation to disclose the allegedly non-infringing iDirect,
Iridium and Gilat products, and they failed to do so. The question is whether the violation is
harmless. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(c)(1) (If a party fails to provide information as required by Rule
26(e), “the party is not allowed to use that information . . . to supply evidence . . . at a trial, unless
the failure was substantially justified or is harmless.”); see also CQ, 565 F.3d at 280 (considering
“(1) [the party’s] explanation for its failure to disclose the evidence, (2) the importance of the
evidence, (3) the potential prejudice to [the opposing party] in allowing the evidence, and (4) the
availability of a continuance”).
Defendants’ explanation for their failure to disclose the evidence is simply that Elbit did
not ask each Defendant to answer the interrogatory about noninfringing alternatives. That
explanation is not credible because the record suggests Hughes should be charged with knowledge
of the iDirect, Iridium and Gilat products. “The rules governing discovery in federal court are
designed to ‘accomplish full disclosure of the facts, eliminate surprise, and promote settlement.’”
Moore v. Ford Motor Co., 755 F.3d 802, 808 (5th Cir. 2014) (quoting S. Ry. Co. v. Lanham, 403
F.2d 119, 127 (5th Cir. 1968)).
The importance of the opinions concerning the allegedly noninfringing iDirect, Iridium and
Gilat products is minimal. Dr. Wicker provides little detail as to how these products meet the
noninfringing alternative standard. Rather, Dr. Wicker explains that “Elbit has not accused the
[products] of infringement and Mr. Elbert has not provided an opinion as to the infringement of
the [products].” See Dkt. 315-3 ¶¶ 67-71. Such a conclusion is insufficient to establish a
noninfringing alternative. Droplets, Inc. v. Overstock.com, Inc., Case 2:11-cv-00401-JRG-RSP,
Dkt. 347 at 3 (Jan. 9, 2015 E.D. Tex.) (expert “should be precluded from making the assertion that
[products] are non-infringing alternatives simply because [the plaintiff] has not accused them of
infringement.”). The possibility that Defendants could establish the iDirect, Iridium and Gilat
products as noninfringing alternatives is therefore remote. See Allergan, Inc. v. Teva Pharm. USA,
Inc., No. 2:15-CV-1455-WCB, 2017 WL 1512334, at *5 (E.D. Tex. Apr. 27, 2017) (Bryson, J.,
sitting by designation) (“In determining the importance of the amendment, the Court must make a
pragmatic judgment as to the likelihood that the newly asserted defense will succeed.”).
The potential prejudice to Elbit is significant because Defendants’ experts, if limited to
their reports at trial, would simply present their conclusions that the iDirect, Iridium and Gilat
products are noninfringing alternatives, largely because the products have not been accused of
infringement. Elbit has not had a chance to test the underlying merits of these conclusions through
discovery. Finally, any continuance would delay trial, which is about a month away. See S&W
Enters., L.L.C. v. SouthTrust Bank of Ala., N.A., 315 F.3d 533, 537 (5th Cir. 2003) (affirming
district court’s refusal to grant continuance when it would “unnecessarily delay the trial”).
Accordingly, Plaintiffs’ Motion to Strike Non-Infringing Alternatives is GRANTED.
Elbit does not identify which specific portions of Defendants’ reports should be struck. It
appears that paragraphs 67-71 of Dr. Wicker’s report include opinions that the iDirect, Iridium and
Gilat products are noninfringing alternatives. Accordingly, the Court STRIKES paragraphs 67-71
of Dr. Wicker’s March 6, 2017 report. See Dkt. 315-3. Mr. Bakewell appears to reference
Dr. Wicker’s opinions in paragraphs 209, 214, and 357 (fifth bullet point only) in his March 6,
2017 rebuttal damages report. See Dkt. 315-4. The Court therefore STRIKES paragraphs 209,
214, and 357 (fifth bullet point only) from Mr. Bakewell’s report.
5. Hughes’ Motion to Strike Infringement Opinions (Dkt. 316)
Hughes moves to strike two theories of infringement allegedly undisclosed until Elbit
served its expert reports: (1) functionality and source code in Hughes’ accused HN/HX products
allegedly corresponding to the “switching means” claim limitation; and (2) opinions regarding
transmitter structure allegedly corresponding to the “first communication means.” Dkt. 316 at 12.
With respect to the first theory, Hughes argues Richard Goodin’s infringement report
“marks the first instance of Elbit identifying that the HN/HX systems performed a comparison of
an amount of data to the size of an Aloha burst and identifying that such functionality satisfied the
‘switching means’ claim limitation.” Id. at 7. Elbit’s December 2015 Contentions, however,
disclose the relationship between the Aloha burst and the amount of data that can be transmitted:
“If the Aloha logical channels are configured to be large enough, the remote terminal may be able
to send a complete transaction within the Aloha burst, depending on the application.” See Dkt. 337
at 3 (quoting P.R. 3-1 Contentions).
Hughes argues this disclosure is insufficient to provide notice of the theory as it relates to
the “switching means” element because, according to Hughes, this disclosure relates to a different
“means for switching” element. See Dkt. 356 at 2. The claim limitation, however, recites a
“switching means compris[ing] means for switching.” See Dkt. 363 at 1. Elbit’s December 2015
Contentions therefore provide adequate notice of the “switching means” theory described in Mr.
Elbert’s expert report.
Hughes also complains that Elbit did not disclose the specific lines of source code
underlying Elbit’s expert reports, i.e., that Elbit “abandoned” the original source code cited in its
contentions in favor of new source code. See Dkt. 316 at 1. Elbit cites persuasive authority,
however, explaining that as long as an infringement theory is adequately disclosed, every
underlying item of proof (such as source code) does not need to be disclosed, provided the notice
purpose of the local patent rules is satisfied through a disclosure of an infringement theory. See
Adobe Sys. Inc. v. Wowza Media Sys., No. 11-CV-02243-JST, 2014 WL 709865, at *16 (N.D. Cal.
Feb. 23, 2014).
More important, however, Mr. Goodin testified during his deposition that the functionality
of the source code cited in his report is consistent with the source code cited in Elbit’s infringement
contentions. See Dkt. 337-4 at 123:10-23. According to Mr. Goodin, he chose the source code cited
in his report simply because “it was just in one place in two functions versus being distributed a
little more, you know, across multiple files or across multiple areas of a single file.” Id. at 123:1417. Finally, Hughes has articulated its substantive disagreements with Mr. Goodin’s theory (and
moved for summary judgment on that theory, see Dkt. 291) suggesting any prejudice is minimal.
See SSL Services, LLC v. Cisco Sys., Inc., Case No. 2:15-cv-433-JRG-RSP (E.D. Tex. Feb. 24,
The remaining prejudice Hughes identifies does not persuade the Court that any discovery
violation that may have occurred warrants correction. Hughes contends that if it had been on notice
of Elbit’s new “switching means” theory, it could have identified comparable source code in the
Aloha processor module in its prior art Personal Earth Station system. See Dkt. 316 at 10. Hughes
was aware of the Court’s claim constructions when it developed its invalidity position, however,
and Hughes knew as much about the scope of the claims as Elbit did. Hughes also had the source
code for the Personal Earth Station system. See id. It is not clear why Elbit’s infringement theory
should match Hughes’ invalidity theory. Hughes’ motion as to the “switching means” theory is
With respect to the second allegedly undisclosed theory, the Court determined during claim
construction that the “first communication means” recited in the ’073 patent claims is governed by
§ 112, ¶ 6 and that the corresponding structure is “the random access transmitter as depicted in
Figure 5 in its entirety.” See Dkt. 208 at 11, 14.
Hughes argues that Elbit’s infringement contentions “did not map the structure identified in the
Court’s claim construction order (‘Figure 5 in its entirety’) to any Hughes product structure.” Dkt.
316 at 12. Rather, according to Hughes, Elbit’s infringement contentions “identify only a ‘HighLevel Inroute IpoS Diagram” with “no discussion of the depicted components, or how any of the
components in this high-level figure correspond to the required structure for the ‘first
communication means.’” Id.
Local Patent Rule 3-1(c) requires a party alleging infringement to identify “where each
element of each asserted claim is found within each Accused Instrumentality, including for each
element that such party contends is governed by 35 U.S.C. § 112(6), the identity of the structure(s),
act(s), or material(s) in the Accused Instrumentality that performs the claimed function.”
Consistent with that standard, Elbit’s contentions identify a diagram depicting a number of
structural components, including an encoder, scrambler, and “16-bit CRC,” among others. See
Dkt. 337 at 8 (citing P.R. 3-1 Contentions). Hughes’ argument is simply that more detail or
explanation should have been included, but “the preparation and supplementation of infringement
contentions is a matter of pleading and merely notifies a defendant of the asserted theories of
infringement in order to provide adequate notice and streamline discovery.” See Realtime Data,
LLC v. Packeteer, Inc., No. 6:08CV144, 2009 WL 2590101, at *5 (E.D. Tex. Aug. 18, 2009).
To the extent Hughes’ argument rests on the assumption that a party alleging infringement
must map each structural component corresponding to a “means” limitation to an accused
component, the Court disagrees that such a requirement exists. “The individual components, if
any, of an overall structure that corresponds to the claimed function are not claim limitations.”
Odetics, Inc. v. Storage Technology Corp., 185 F.3d 1259, 1268 (Fed. Cir. 1999). “Rather, the
claim limitation is the overall structure corresponding to the claimed function. This is why
structures with different numbers of parts may still be equivalent under § 112, ¶ 6, thereby meeting
the claim limitation.” Id.
It is true, as Hughes points out, that the Court rejected Elbit’s argument during claim
construction that Figure 5 without any sub-components (an “empty box” as Hughes characterizes
it) could constitute structure corresponding to the “first communication means.” See Dkt. 208 at
14. But it is unclear how this should affect Hughes’ infringement contentions or what decision
Elbit should be “forced to live with,” see Dkt. 316 at 11. Elbit unsuccessfully argued for a broad
category of structure corresponding to the “first communication means.” Elbit is not thereafter
precluded from detailing how components in a diagram disclosed through infringement
contentions correspond to the structure of the “first communication means.” Hughes’ motion as to
the “first communication means” theory is therefore DENIED.
C. Daubert Motions
Both Elbit and Defendants challenge each others’ expert testimony under Federal Rule of
Evidence 702. When evaluating a party’s challenge to an opponent’s expert witness, the Court
assumes the role of gatekeeper to ensure the reliability and relevance of the expert’s testimony.
Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 597 (1993); Kumho Tire Co. v. Carmichael,
526 U.S. 137, 150 (1999). Rule 702 guides the inquiry, specifying that a qualified expert may
testify as long as his opinion will aid the fact finder and is reliable, i.e., the opinion must stand on
sufficient data, reliable methods, and the facts of the case. See Daubert, 509 U.S. at 590; Fed. R.
Evid. 702(a)-(d); see also Micro Chem., Inc. v. Lextron, Inc., 317 F.3d 1387, 1391 (Fed. Cir. 2003)
(“In 2000, Rule 702 was amended in response to Daubert and cases applying it.”).
1. Elbit’s Infringement Expert Motion (Dkt. 312)
Elbit moves to exclude four portions of Dr. Wicker’s testimony. First, Elbit argues
Dr. Wicker’s opinions that the PES prior art system anticipates the ’073 patent claims are
unreliable because Dr. Wicker allegedly concedes the PES system does not include every element
of the asserted claims. Elbit’s complaint appears to be that Dr. Wicker’s opinions rely on a
comparison between the accused products and the prior art PES system.
With respect to the claimed “first communications means,” Dr. Wicker includes opinions
that rest on a factual analysis of the allegedly prior PES system, as compared to the asserted claims.
See Dkt. 327-2 ¶ 230. The same is true for the claimed “second communication means.” See id.
¶ 248. While Dr. Wicker’s report does make comparisons between the PES system and the accused
products, there is enough standalone factual basis for Dr. Wicker’s opinions to withstand exclusion
under Rule 702. See Verizon Servs. Corp. v. Cox Fibernet Virginia, Inc., 602 F.3d 1325, 1339
(Fed. Cir. 2010) (“[A] reasonable jury could conclude, based on evidence in the record and separate
and apart from any alleged ‘practicing the prior art’ argument, that the Feature Patents were
Second, Elbit argues Dr. Wicker’s invalidity opinions are unreliable because Dr. Wicker
used the broadest reasonable construction for a claim term in a manner that is inconsistent with the
Phillips standard. See Dkt. 312 at 1. Elbit’s objection is based on a typographical error or oversight
in Dr. Wicker’s report. Dr. Wicker clarified in deposition that he “was using what one of ordinary
skill at the time of the invention would have understood the claims to mean, which would be within
the broadest reasonable interpretation, but it would be narrower than that.” See Dkt. 327-3 at 430:38. Dr. Wicker will not be permitted to testify about a claim term’s broadest reasonable
interpretation, regardless of what is his expert report says, and it does not appear that he intends to
Third, Elbit contends Dr. Wicker’s opinions describing noninfringing alternatives should
be excluded. According to Elbit, Dr. Wicker provided no factual basis or analysis for his
noninfringing alternatives opinions. See Dkt. 312 at 1-2. Hughes contends that Dr. Wicker intends
to support this opinions at trial by pointing to testimony from live fact witnesses. Dr. Wicker cites
relevant deposition testimony in his report, and there is no dispute that an expert may rely on fact
testimony presented at trial. For these reasons, Elbit’s Infringement Expert Motion is DENIED
(Subject to the Court’s ruling on Plaintiffs’ Motion to Strike Non-Infringing Alternatives, Dkt.
2. Hughes’ Motion to Exclude Patent Office Expert Testimony (Dkt. 313)
Hughes asks the Court to exclude certain opinions of Elbit’s patent office practice and
procedure expert, Stephen Kunin, because Hughes contends that some of his opinions are “not
relevant to any issue in the case and are based on unreliable methodologies.” Dkt. 313 at 1. First,
Hughes argues “Mr. Kunin improperly opines regarding [the prosecuting attorney’s] supposed
state of mind and knowledge of the ’073 patent, and actions Mr. Plastrik must have taken in
responding to an office action.” Id.
Mr. Kunin’s testimony emphasizes that Elbit’s ’073 patent was cited as prior art to one of
Hughes’ patent applications. See, e.g., Dkt. 313-1 ¶¶ 37-48. Mr. Kunin includes an analysis of the
prosecution of Hughes’ patent application, including Mr. Kunin’s assertion that the prosecuting
attorney, “in order to distinguish [the ’073 patent] disclosure from the limitations set forth in the
then pending claims of the ’755 application,” “would have had to review the ’073 patent to reach
the conclusion that it ‘does not teach or suggest the feature of a network control cluster . . . .” Id.
Whatever relevance this testimony might have, the Court agrees with Hughes that the
testimony does not satisfy the Daubert standard. Mr. Kunin does not have personal knowledge of
what Hughes’ prosecuting attorney may or may not have necessarily done to prosecute Hughes’
patent application. See Daubert, 509 U.S. at 599, 113 S.Ct. 2786 (requiring more than “subjective
belief or unsupported speculation” from expert testimony). Nor would Mr. Kunin’s testimony be
relevant or helpful to the trier of fact. See Daubert, 509 U.S. at 595 (trial court must ensure “that
an expert’s testimony both rests on a reliable foundation and is relevant to the task at hand”).
Accordingly, Mr. Kunin will not be permitted to testify about what Hughes’ prosecuting attorney
“would have had to review” as part of prosecuting Hughes’ patent application. See Dkt. 313-1
¶¶ 44, 45, 48.
Second, Hughes contends Mr. Kunin’s opinion that the ’073 patent is “foundational”
should be excluded. See Dkt. 313 at 1-2. Mr. Kunin characterizes the ’073 patent as “foundational”
because the patent was cited as prior art during the prosecution of “at least three Hughes patent
applications,” “has been applied by the Examiners as anticipatory prior art to then pending claims
in at least the ’755 Hughes patent application,” and has been cited “in 52 United States patents.”
Dkt. 313-1 ¶¶ 55-56. These facts, according to Mr. Kunin “is an indicator of the foundational
nature of a patent.” Id. ¶ 58.
The Court agrees with Hughes that Mr. Kunin’s testimony does not meet the Daubert
standard. Mr. Kunin cites two studies reporting the mean and median number of patent citations,
and Mr. Kunin compares these mean and median citation numbers with the number of times the
’073 patent has been cited. Even assuming these studies compel a statistically significant
conclusion, it is not clear how the number of times a patent is cited renders the patent
“foundational.” See Dkt. 313-1 ¶ 62 n. 12. Indeed, Mr. Kunin’s testimony suggests that a patent
may be cited by Examiners more frequently if the patent has a “a large omnibus specification.” Id.
¶ 59. An omnibus specification of course has nothing to do with the technical merits of a patent
specification or the patentability of its claims. See Sundance, Inv. v. DeMonte Fabricating Ltd.,
550 F.3d 1356, 1361-62 (Fed. Cir. 2008) (reversing trial court for erroneously permitting a patent
prosecution expert to testify on the technical merits of a patent in suit). Moreover, the term
“foundational” is not clearly defined by Mr. Kunin and thus unhelpful to the jury.
Nor is it clear what relevance, if any, Mr. Kunin’s testimony about the supposedly
foundational nature of the ’073 patent has to the questions the jury will be required to resolve. See
Daubert, 509 U.S. at 595 (trial court must ensure “that an expert’s testimony both rests on a reliable
foundation and is relevant to the task at hand”). In sum, Mr. Kunin’s testimony about the
foundational nature of the ’073 patent will not assist the trier of fact. See id. Accordingly,
Mr. Kunin’s testimony based on paragraphs 55 through 62 of his expert report is excluded. See
Dkt. 313-1. 2. 2. Hughes’ Motion to Exclude Patent Office Expert Testimony is therefore
3. Defendants’ Motion to Exclude Damages Expert Testimony (Dkt. 314)
Hughes moves to exclude opinions by Elbit’s expert, Mr. Martinez, related to: (1) his
royalty analysis for the ’073 Patent that relies on an allegedly non-comparable settlement
agreement and fails to apportion value to the claimed invention; (2) his lost profits analysis for the
’073 patent that allegedly fails to consider non-infringing alternatives; and (3) his damages opinion
with respect to the ’874 patent in view of his failure to separately calculate damages for this patent.
See Dkt. 314.
The parties’ arguments about Mr. Martinez’s royalty and apportionment analysis are less
about reliability and more about credibility, i.e., they raise questions for the jury to resolve. The
parties do not dispute that the patents-in-suit have not been licensed before. Dkt. 331 at 2-3.
Mr. Martinez opines that the Gilat license is comparable, while Hughes’ expert opines that the
Caltech license is comparable. Id.
The Gilat License resulted from a lawsuit Hughes brought against a competitor in the
satellite communication industry for infringing patents related to Hughes’ one-way DirecPC
systems, i.e., technology that preceded Hughes’ allegedly infringing two-way systems. Dkt. 3311 ¶¶ 207-39. Defendants highlight differences between the Gilat License and the hypothetical
negotiation involving the patents-in-suit, but comparable licenses need not be identical as long as
they are “sufficiently comparable to the hypothetical license at issue in suit.” Lucent Techs., Inc.
v. Gateways, Inc., 580 F.3d 1301, 1325, 1328-30 (Fed. Cir. 2009). An expert may rely on past
licenses involving different technology as long as the expert “account[s] for differences in the
technologies and economic circumstances of the contracting parties.” Virnetx, Inc. v. Cisco Sys.,
Inc., 767 F.3d 1308, 1330 (Fed. Cir. 2014). Mr. Martinez’s report adequately accounts for such
differences. See Dkt. 331-1 ¶¶ 207-39.
Moreover, Mr. Martinez’s explanation of the differences between the accused technology
and the technology subject to the Gilat license adequately accounts for his apportionment of the
value of the patents-in-suit. See id. ¶¶ 208-224, 228-235, 238-239, 267-273. “[E]stimating a
reasonable royalty and apportionment is never an exact science. At some level an expert must be
allowed to rely on and use his or her judgment, provided the opinion is supported by facts and
data.” PerdiemCo, LLC v. Industrack LLC, No. 2:15-CV-726-JRG-RSP, 2016 WL 6611488, at *3
(E.D. Tex. Nov. 9, 2016). Mr. Martinez’s opinion is not so opaque as to be immune from rigorous
cross-examination, the “traditional and appropriate means of attacking shaky but admissible
evidence.” See Daubert, 509 U.S. at 596.
Hughes’ objection to Mr. Martinez’s lost profits opinion is based on Mr. Martinez’s alleged
failure to consider noninfringing alternatives. See, e.g., Dkt. 314 at 4-5. The parties’ arguments
concerning lost profits reveal a complex disagreement about what is required to establish lost
profits. Mr. Martinez’s opinion accounts for the existence and effect of noninfringing alternatives,
assuming those alternatives exist (which is a factual dispute for the jury to resolve) by conducting
a market share apportionment analysis. See Dkt. 331-1 ¶¶ 276-92. Mr. Martinez’s report also
accounts for the possibility that certain alternatives are not satisfactory noninfringing alternatives.
See Dkt. 331-1 ¶¶ 161-77.
Mr. Martinez’s opinion is consistent with Federal Circuit authority. Indeed, as the Federal
Circuit explained in State Indus., Inc. v. Mor-Flo Industries, Inc., calculating lost profits in a
multiple-competitor environment is difficult, but not impossible:
Frequently, the patent owner and infringer are the only suppliers in
the market, and the owner is seeking to recover profits lost through
every sale made by the infringer. In the two-supplier market, it is
reasonable to assume, provided the patent owner has the
manufacturing and marketing capabilities, that it would have made
the infringer’s sales. In these instances, the Panduit test is usually
straightforward and dispositive.
Here we have multiple competitors and the patent owner contends
that all the competitors infringed or sold a far less preferable
alternative—fiberglass. The district court made the absence of
acceptable substitutes, Panduit item (2), a neutral factor by crediting
all the other competitors with their market shares as State requested.
If the court is correct in its finding that the other competitors were
likely infringers of one or the other of State’s patents, State would
have been entitled to their shares of the market on top of its own,
and a correspondingly greater share of Mor–Flo’s sales. If it is
wrong in whole or in part, State would have been entitled to its
current share or to a lesser increase in share. We need not decide
which it is because it would make no difference to the outcome.
State would get at least what it asked for, because as discussed
further below the district court found, and we agree, that State’s
share of the market was proven.
883 F.2d 1573, 1578 (Fed. Cir. 1989) (citations omitted). Because Mr. Martinez’s opinion is based
on a market share approach similar to that described in Mor-Flo, the opinion does not violate
Daubert and Rule 702.
Hughes’ complaint with Mr. Martinez’s opinion concerning compensation for the alleged
infringement of the ’874 patent is based on Mr. Martinez’s lack of a separate royalty opinion for
the ’874 patent. See Dkt. 294; Dkt. 314 at 14-15. Hughes fails to adequately demonstrate why
Mr. Martinez’s opinion that the parties would have engaged in a single hypothetical negotiation
for both asserted patents is unreliable simply because the ’874 patent had not yet issued.
Mr. Martinez’s opinions satisfy the Daubert standard. See, e.g., Comcast IP Holdings I LLC v.
Sprint Commc’ns Co., L.P., 850 F.3d 1302 (Fed. Cir. 2017) (“[a] hypothetical negotiation in 2006
would include each of the asserted patents, even if they issued later, and the resulting negotiation
would include the fact that two of the patents issued later.”). For these reasons, Defendants’ Motion
to Exclude Damages Expert Testimony is DENIED.
4. Elbit's Motion to Exclude Damages Expert Testimony (Dkt. 319)
Elbit asks the Court to strike five portions of Mr. Bakewell’s report, namely opinions
concerning: (1) “standard essential patents” (SEPs) and the related requirement to license such
patents on fair, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory (FRAND) terms because, according to Elbit,
the asserted patents are not SEPs and Elbit is under no FRAND obligations; (2) market approach
royalty calculations based on a valuation by third party iLeverage; (3) an allegedly arbitrary royalty
baseline; (4) third party patent licenses that Mr. Bakewell allegedly fails to establish are
comparable; and (5) non-infringing alternatives for which Mr. Bakewell allegedly cites no
evidence of their availability at the time of the hypothetical negotiation. See Dkt. 319.
The Court concludes that Elbit’s objections to Mr. Bakewell’s opinions go more toward
the weight of his testimony than to its admissibility. With respect to Mr. Bakewell’s SEP opinions,
the parties dispute whether the patents-in-suit, notably the ’073 patent, are SEPs. Mr. Bakewell
contends at least the ’073 patent is a SEP because it includes a claim that is “necessarily infringed”
by a system that utilizes technology incorporated into the IPoS standard. See Dkt. 346 at 1. Elbit
emphasizes the lack of noninfringing alternatives for the accused Hughes products that practice
the IPoS standard, and thus Mr. Bakewell’s SEP analysis is at least supported by the possible
conclusion that the ’073 patent is essential to the IPoS standard. See In re Innovatio IP Ventures,
LLC Patent Litig., 956 F. Supp. 2d 925, 939 n.5 (N.D. Ill. 2013) (“If there are no commercially
and technically feasible non-infringing alternatives, a claim is necessary. Similarly, if a claim is
necessary, it means that there are no feasible alternatives with which to implement the standard.”).
Elbit argues Mr. Bakewell’s discussions of FRAND obligations would confuse the jury, but this
argument goes more to whether his testimony should be excluded under Rule 403, not Rule 702.
Cross-examination is the “traditional and appropriate means of attacking shaky but admissible
evidence.” See Daubert, 509 U.S. at 596.
Elbit’s objection to Mr. Bakewell’s reliance on the iLeverage valuation is more of a
disagreement about the reasonableness of Mr. Bakewell’s valuation. Mr. Bakewell’s iLeverage
valuation opinions are not so unreliable as to warrant exclusion under Daubert and Rule 702. There
are numerous factual disputes underlying Mr. Bakewell’s iLeverage valuation, see Dkt. 346 at 47, and Elbit’s objection goes to the weight of Mr. Bakewell’s testimony, not its admissibility. See
Robocast, Inc. v. Microsoft Corp., No. 10-1055-RGA, 2014 WL 202399, *2–3 (D. Del. January
16, 2014) (declining to exclude valuation relied upon by expert because “it is up to the jury to
determine the weight accorded the valuation”).
Similarly, Elbit disagrees with Mr. Bakewell’s royalty baseline, his reliance on the
allegedly comparable Caltech license, and his discussion of noninfringing alternatives, but
Mr. Bakewell’s economic analysis is sufficiently detailed to avoid exclusion under Daubert. As
for the royalty baseline, Mr. Bakewell provides a range of values derived from economic analysis,
see, e.g. Dkt. 346-1 ¶¶ 358, 364, 368, 486, 488, and this range can be tested through crossexamination. See Summit6, LLC v. Samsung Elecs. Co., Ltd., 802 F.3d 1283, 1299 (Fed. Cir. 2015)
(“[D]isputes over the expert’s credibility or over the accuracy of the underlying facts are for the
jury”). As for the Caltech license, the real dispute is whether the license is sufficiently comparable,
and thus the weight of Mr. Bakewell’s testimony is at issue, at least when the Court is satisfied
that the allegedly comparable license bears a sufficient technological relationship to the patented
technology, as is the case here. See Ericsson, Inc. v. D-Link Sys., Inc., 773 F.3d 1201, 1227 (Fed.
Cir. 2014) (“[T]hat a license is not perfectly analogous generally goes to the weight of the
evidence, not its admissibility.”).
Finally, as for Mr. Bakewell’s discussion of noninfringing alternatives, the dispute is one
that will be resolved by the jury when they determine which alternatives, if any, are adequate
noninfringing substitutes, and what affect that may have on any damages award, see Dkt. 346-1
¶ 203, 358, subject to the Court’s ruling on Plaintiff’s Motion to Strike Non-Infringing Alternatives
(Dkt. 315). For these reasons, Elbit’s Motion to Exclude Damages Expert Testimony is DENIED.
D. Defendants’ Motions to Transfer and Stay (Dkts. 372 and 373)
Hughes and BlueTide move to transfer the case under 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a), contending that
venue is improper in this district in view of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in TC Heartland
LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, 137 S. Ct. 1514 (2017)—a decision that reaffirmed the
Supreme Court’s 1957 holding that 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b) is the “sole and exclusive provision
controlling venue in patent infringement actions.” See Fourco Glass Co. v. Transmirra Prod.
Corp., 353 U.S. 222, 229. TC Heartland clarified that venue is proper under § 1400(b) “in the
judicial district where the defendant resides, or where the defendant has committed acts of
infringement and has a regular and established place of business,” and that the term “resides” refers
“only to the State of incorporation.” TC Heartland, 137 S. Ct. at 1521. Hughes and BlueTide 1
contend they are not incorporated in Texas and have no regular and established place of business
in the district. Elbit disputes whether Hughes waived objections to venue and whether venue over
Hughes is proper on the merits. See Dkt. 386. The Court need not address the merits because
Hughes and BlueTide waived their venue defense or objection to venue under Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure 12(g)(2) and 12(h)(1)(A).
1. Relevant Procedural Background
In response to Elbit’s initial complaint, Hughes filed a motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(6), asking the Court to dismiss Elbit’s claims for willful patent infringement. See Dkt. 22.
Hughes made no assertion that venue was improper. See id. Hughes renewed its motion on April
20, 2015, and again on December 14, 2015, in response to Elbit’s amended complaints. See Dkt.
34; Dkt. 69. Hughes’ renewed motions made no claim of improper venue. In Hughes’ answer to
the complaint filed on April 13, 2016, Hughes stated that it “does not contest that venue is proper
for Hughes in this District” but that Hughes “reserves the right to contest that venue is proper in
this District based on In re TC Heartland, Case No. 16-0105, currently pending before the Federal
Circuit. . . .” Dkt. 110 at 3. Hughes later filed a sealed document requesting transfer under 28
U.S.C. § 1404(a), arguing that venue would be more convenient in the District of Maryland. See
Dkt. 130 at 5. Notably, the sealed document makes no mention of transfer under § 1406(a), which
is the appropriate provision for requesting transfer of a case “laying venue in the wrong division
or district.” See § 1406(a).
Elbit responded to Defendants’ motion to transfer by stating it does not oppose “the Court
dismissing the action against BlueTide on venue grounds at this time.” Dkt. 386 at 1. The Court
declines to do so without a joint motion to dismiss BlueTide. Elbit also requests “that the Court
exercise its power to dismiss Country Home under Rule 41(a)(2).” Id. at 1 n.1. The Court will
consider Elbit’s request if Elbit or the parties file a motion to dismiss Country Home.
For its part, BlueTide filed a motion to dismiss for improper venue on March 16, 2015,
acknowledging the existing Federal Circuit precedent holding that § 1391(c) supplements
§ 1400(b), and thus, according to that Circuit precedent, venue is proper in a patent case where a
defendant is subject to personal jurisdiction. See VE Holding Corp. v. Johnson Gas Appliance Co.,
917 F.2d 1574, 1584 (Fed. Cir. 1990). Indeed, BlueTide stated in its motion that “[a] corporate
defendant is deemed to reside for purposes of venue ‘in any judicial district in which such
defendant is subject to the court’s personal jurisdiction with respect to the civil action in question.’”
Dkt. 23 at 2 (quoting § 1391(c)(2)). The remainder of BlueTide’s motion assumes § 1391(c)(2)
applied to this case and to patent cases generally. BlueTide’s objection was based solely on the
argument that this district did not have personal jurisdiction over BlueTide (assuming the district
was a state under § 1391(c)(2)). See id. at 3-9. The same assumption held in BlueTide’s second
and third motions to dismiss for improper venue filed on April 20, 2015, and on December 14,
2015, both in response to Elbit’s amended complaints. See Dkt. 35 at 3; Dkt. 67 at 3. In BlueTide’s
answer filed on April 13, 2016, BlueTide again denied that venue is proper, but for the first time
stated that it “reserves the right to contest that venue is proper in this District based on In re TC
Heartland, Case No. 16-0105, currently pending before the Federal Circuit.” See Dkt. 111 ¶ 10.
In sum, neither Hughes nor BlueTide affirmatively sought dismissal or transfer because of
the lack of “resid[ence]” or the lack of a “regular and established place of business” under
§ 1400(b) as interpreted by Fourco, 353 U.S. at 229, until June 3, 2017—less than two months
from trial. See Dkt. 351 (Docket Control Order); Dkt. 372.
2. Waiver of Venue Defense
“A party waives any defense listed in Rule 12(b)(2)-(5) by . . . omitting it from a motion in
the circumstances described in Rule 12(g)(2).” Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(h)(1)(A). Under Rule 12(g)(2),
“a party that makes a motion under this rule must not make another motion under this rule raising
a defense or objection that was available to the party but omitted from its earlier motion.” Rules
12(h)(2) and (3) exempt certain defenses from Rule 12(g)(2)’s consolidation requirement,
including “[f]ailure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted,” failure “to join a person
required by Rule 19(b),” failure “state a legal defense to a claim,” and lack of subject-matter
jurisdiction. See, e.g., Nationwide Bi-Weekly Admin., Inc. v. Belo Corp., 512 F.3d 137, 141 (5th
Cir. 2007) (discussing Rule 12(h)(2)’s exemption of a motion for failure to state a claim from Rule
12(g)’s consolidation requirement); see also Doe v. Columbia-Brazoria Indep. Sch. Dist. by &
through Bd. of Trustees, 855 F.3d 681, 687 (5th Cir. 2017). Rule 12(g)(2) does not exempt a venue
defense or objection to venue under Rule 12(b)(3). See Albany Ins. Co. v. Almacenadora Somex,
S.A., 5 F.3d 907, 909 (5th Cir. 1993).
Thus, by filing a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) and
omitting its venue defense, Hughes waived the defense—assuming that defense “was available”
to Hughes at the time. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(g)(2), 12(h)(1)(A). Rule 12(g)(2) (and by extension
Rule 12(h)(1)(A)) applies only to defenses or objections that were “available to the party.” Fed. R.
Civ. P. 12(g)(2). Consistent with the text of the Rule and its applicability to “available” defenses
and objections, courts in this Circuit recognize that waiver under Rule 12(h)(1)(A) does not apply
to personal defenses that were unavailable to the party when waiver would have otherwise
occurred. See, e.g., Peacock v. Ins. & Bonds Agency of Texas, PLLC, No. 3:12-CV-1710-D, 2012
WL 3702920, at *1 (N.D. Tex. Aug. 28, 2012).
Hughes and BlueTide argue the defense was unavailable because TC Heartland is an
intervening change in law. Dkt. 372 at 14 n.4 (citing Holzsager v. Valley Hop., 646 F.2d 792, 796
(2d Cir. 1981)). The Court need not reach Defendants’ argument that a change in law constitutes
an exception to waiver under Rule 12(h)(1)(A) because the Supreme Court’s decision in TC
Heartland does not qualify. Fourco was decided in 1957. While the Federal Circuit’s decision in
VE Holding was inconsistent with Fourco, the Federal Circuit cannot overturn Supreme Court
precedent. See Thurston Motor Lines. Inc. v. Jordan K. Rand, Ltd., 460 U.S. 533, 535 (1983)
(“Needless to say, only this Court may overrule one of its precedents.”). As one court in the Eastern
District of Virginia concluded, “TC Heartland does not qualify for the intervening law exception
to waiver because it merely affirms the viability of Fourco.” Cobalt Boats, LLC v. Sea Ray Boats,
Inc., No. 2:15-CV-21, 2017 WL 2556679, at *3 (E.D. Va. June 7, 2017). 2
Hughes argues “it was well known that any motion under § 1400(b) suggesting that proper
venue required either incorporation within the state of Texas or ‘a regular and established place of
business’ by the defendant would be viewed as meritless.” Dkt. 372 at 14 n.4. While such a motion
might have been viewed as meritless in a lower court, that does not change the harsh reality that
Hughes would have ultimately succeeded in convincing the Supreme Court to reaffirm Fourco,
just as the petitioner in TC Heartland did. See Cobalt Boats, 2017 WL 2556679, at *3. The
Supreme Court’s decision in TC Heartland does not exempt Hughes from the waiver that occurred
when Hughes left the venue defense out of its motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(g)(2), 12(h)(1)(A).
Furthermore, Hughes waived its venue defense in its answer to Elbit’s complaint filed on
April 13, 2016, by stating that it “does not contest that venue is proper for Hughes in this
District . . . .” See Dkt. 110 at 3. Hughes has “fallen victim to the well-settled rule that a party is
After the decision in Cobalt Boats, the defendant petitioned for writ of mandamus, and the
Federal Circuit denied the petition “[u]nder the circumstances” and “on the eve of trial,” over
Judge Newman’s dissent. See In re Sea Ray Boats, Inc., Case No. 2017-124, Dkt. 15, Slip Op. at
2 (Fed. Cir. June 9, 2017). This Court confronts similar circumstances with trial on the horizon.
bound by what it states in its pleadings.” See Soo Line R. Co. v. St. Louis Sw. Ry. Co., 125 F.3d
481, 483 (7th Cir. 1997); see also Sunday Riley Modern Skin Care, L.L.C. v. Maesa, No. CIV.A.
H-12-1650, 2014 WL 722870, at *6 (S.D. Tex. Feb. 20, 2014). Hughes argues that Defendants
“each expressly reserved their rights to challenge venue in the event TC Heartland changed the
law,” see Dkt. 372 at 14 n.4; Dkt. 110 at 3, but a defendant cannot state that it does not dispute
venue while reserving the ability to later contest it. To conclude otherwise would undermine the
purpose of Rule 12(g) and (h) to promote efficiency and finality. See Tiernan v. Dunn, 295 F.
Supp. 1253, 1256 (D.R.I. 1969) (“To permit this defense to be raised now would undermine the
very purpose of Rule 12(g), (h), which is the avoidance of time-consuming, piece-meal litigation
of pre-trial motions.”). A party’s conduct in the course of a proceeding can justify waiver even
when the requirements of Rule 12(h)(1) are not satisfied. See, e.g., Yeldell v. Tutt, 913 F.2d 533,
539 (8th Cir. 1990) (“A delay in challenging personal jurisdiction by motion to dismiss has resulted
in waiver, even where, as here, the defense was asserted in a timely answer.”) (emphasis added).
Unlike Hughes, BlueTide has consistently denied that venue is proper in the district, and
BlueTide has filed three motions articulating its arguments. See Dkts. 23, 35, 67. Yet in each of
these motions, BlueTide acknowledged the applicability of § 1391(c) to patent cases, a position
that is not and never was controlling Supreme Court law, at least not since 1957—notwithstanding
the fact that lower courts may have been bound by VE Holding. See TC Heartland, 137 S. Ct. at
1520 (“In Fourco, this Court definitively and unambiguously held that the word ‘reside[nce]’ in
§ 1400(b) has a particular meaning as applied to domestic corporations: It refers only to the State
By filing motions to dismiss for improper venue and omitting its objection to venue under
§ 1400(b)—as that provision was interpreted by Fourco—BlueTide waived its objection under
Rule 12(g)(2) and 12(h)(1)(A). BlueTide raised the defense of improper venue, but Rule 12(g)(2)’s
consolidation requirement, and hence Rule 12(h)(1)(A) waiver, is not limited to a “defense.” The
Rule requires a party to include “a defense or objection that was available to the party.” Fed. R.
Civ. P. 12(g)(2) (emphasis added); see also Albany Ins. Co., 5 F.3d at 909-10 (applying waiver to
an available venue objection omitted from a prior motion to dismiss for improper venue). If a party
can preserve any objection to venue by simply raising a venue defense—regardless of the objection
underlying that defense—then the word “objection” in Rule 12(g)(2) would be superfluous.
“[C]ourts ‘must give effect, if possible, to every clause and word of a statute.’” See Loughrin v.
United States, 134 S. Ct. 2384, 2390 (2014) (citation omitted). BlueTide’s venue objection is
Hughes and BlueTide move to transfer § 1406, which applies only to cases “laying venue
in the wrong division or district.” Hughes and BlueTide waived their objections to venue. See
§ 1406(b) (“Nothing in this chapter shall impair the jurisdiction of a district court of any matter
involving a party who does not interpose timely and sufficient objection to venue.”); In re Vitamins
Antitrust Litig., 263 F. Supp. 2d 67, 68 n.1 (D.D.C. 2003) (“The Court need not address
Defendants’ motion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a). It is undisputed that Defendants have failed
to timely object to venue or personal jurisdiction. The Federal Rules clearly provide that such
objections are waivable defenses unless raised in a responsive pleading or by motion under Rule
12.”); see also Broad. Co. of the Carolinas v. Flair Broad. Corp., 892 F.2d 372, 377 (4th Cir.
1989). The motion to transfer is therefore DENIED, and the motion to stay pending Defendants’
motion to transfer under § 1406 is DENIED AS MOOT.
3. Defendants’ Pending Motion to Transfer under § 1404 (Dkt. 130)
Shortly before Defendants filed their motion to transfer under § 1406, Defendants alerted
the Court to a document Defendants filed via ECF on May 24, 2016 simply as a “Sealed
Document.” See Dkt. 130. Although the document was titled “motion,” the Court was not aware
of it because the ECF system did not identify the document as a pending motion because
Defendants’ counsel did not file it as such. The Court is now aware of the motion and will resolve
it in due time, but under the circumstances, a stay pending resolution of the motion to transfer
under § 1404 is not warranted. Defendants had numerous occasions to alert the Court to the motion,
and no such notice was given until more than a year after the motion was filed. Accordingly,
Defendants’ motion to stay pending transfer under § 1404 is DENIED. An Order on the pending
motion to transfer under § 1404 will be forthcoming.
For the foregoing reasons, IT IS ORDERED that the parties’ pending motions are resolved
Elbit’s Motion to Strike Invalidity Opinions
GRANTED-IN-PART and DENIEDIN-PART
Hughes’ Motion to Strike Infringement
Hughes’ Priority Date Motion
Elbit’s Infringement Expert Motion (Dkt. 312) 312
Hughes’ Motion to Exclude Patent Office
Defendants’ Motion to Exclude Damages
Plaintiffs’ Motion to Strike Non-Infringing
Hughes’ Motion to Strike Infringement
Elbit's Motion to Exclude Damages Expert
Defendants’ Motion to Transfer
Defendants’ Motion to Stay
DENIED AS MOOT
Additionally, the Court RECOMMENDS the following motions for summary judgment
be resolved as follows:
Defendants’ “Switching Means” Motion
Defendants’ “Means for Generating Request” Motion
Defendants’ GMR-1 Products Motion
Defendants’ Damages Motion
Hughes’ Copying Motion
Hughes’ Willfulness Motion
Hughes’ Marking Motion
Motion for Summary Judgment of Noninfringement of the
A party’s failure to file written objections to the findings, conclusions, and
recommendations contained in this report within fourteen days after being served with a copy shall
bar that party from de novo review by the district judge of those findings, conclusions, and
recommendations and, except on grounds of plain error, from appellate review of unobjected-to
factual findings and legal conclusions accepted and adopted by the district court. Fed. R. Civ. P.
72(b)(2); see Douglass v. United Servs. Auto. Ass’n, 79 F.3d 1415, 1430 (5th Cir. 1996) (en banc).
SIGNED this 3rd day of January, 2012.
SIGNED this 20th day of June, 2017.
ROY S. PAYNE
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE