Whirlpool v. TST Water (Judgment March 29, 2018)

Eastern District of Texas Judge Gilstrap denied TST’s motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law in this patent infringement case.  The jury award of $7.6 million stands.

Mr. Bruce McFarlene, Whirpool’s damages expert, offered the opinion that damages for infringement of the ‘894 patent should be $8.7 million.  TST sought to exclude Mr. McFarlene for violation of the entire market value rule; however, prior to the ruling, the parties had stipulated that a filter at issue was the smallest saleable unit.

When TST moved for judgment as a matter of law based upon for Mr. McFarlene’s failure to apportion, Judge Gilstrap reminded the parties of their stipulation and concluded that Mr. McFarlene “did engage in the proper apportionment required by the law, beginning with an appropriate rate.”

Rembrandt Wireless Technologies, LP v. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., et al. (Final Judgment March 28, 2018)

The long-running dispute between Rembrandt and Samsung may be over.  Eastern District of Texas Judge Gilstrap issued final judgment in which he determined that Samsung owes Rembrandt $11,111,920 as damages for Samsung’s infringement of the ‘580 and ‘228 patents. This judgment came after years of litigation, after a February 2015 jury verdict, after a ruling on a JMOL, and after an appeal to the Federal Circuit.

In February 2015, a jury determined that Samsung infringed both patents and that the patent claims were not invalid.  The jury awarded Rembrandt a lump sum of $15.7 million.  Judge Gilstrap determined that this award fell within the range offered by Mr. Roy Weinstein (Rembrandt’s damages expert), who had suggested a damages range of $14.5 million to $31.9 million.  Judge Gilstrap denied the JMOL on damages, and Samsung appealed to the Federal Circuit.

The Federal Circuit agreed with Judge Gilstrap’s opinions regarding infringement and damages, but it questioned his decision to allow Rembrandt to recover pre-notice damages.  In its defensive case, it appears Samsung argued that a licensee of Rembrandt’s practiced claim 40 of the ‘580 patent, but that Rembrandt did not require said-licensee to mark those products.  In response, Rembrandt disclaimed said-claim 40 which Samsung argued said-licensee practiced.  Rembrandt then successfully argued to the district court that, because it disclaimed said-claim 40 of the ‘580 patent, there was no marking requirement for the Rembrandt licensee, who did not practice any other claim of the ‘580 patent.  On appeal, the Federal Circuit questioned the district court’s allowance of pre-notice damages based upon disclaiming a claim, and remanded the case for adjustment of the damages award.

The Federal Circuit was interested in discussing whether the marking statute should be on a patent-by-patent basis – or instead, a claim-by-claim basis.  But it did not offer any definitive determination and instead left decision on the matter to the district court.  Ultimately, Rembrandt dropped its pre-notice damages award request, and accordingly, Judge Gilstrap left the patent-by-patent/claim-by-claim marking issue for another day.

The only remaining issue was how best to interpret the jury verdict in order to remove pre-notice damages.  Both parties volunteered competing guidance to Judge Gilstrap concerning how best to remove the pre-notice damages:

Ultimately, Judge Gilstrap decided Rembrandt’s method made more sense and that damages should be $11,111,920, to reflect the jury award minus the pre-notice time period.

Which all leads us to proclaim that the strategy of seeking to reclaim pre-notice damages by disclaiming a claimed claim is one meritorious of some acclaim….