Underwater Devices Dries Up - Life After In re Seagate

659 views
549 views

Published on

Slides from panel discussion in September 2007 re the potential impact of the Federal Circuit\'s In re Seagate decision on opinions of counsel in patent litigation

0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total views
659
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
8
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
0
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Underwater Devices Dries Up - Life After In re Seagate

  1. 1. Presented to Intellectual Property Law Section, State Bar of Georgia – September 27, 2007 Underwater Devices Dries Up? - Life After In re Seagate
  2. 2. Panel <ul><li>James L. Ewing IV – Kilpatrick Stockton, LLP </li></ul>
  3. 3. Panel <ul><li>James L. Ewing IV – Kilpatrick Stockton, LLP </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rocket Scientist </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Panel <ul><li>James L. Ewing IV – Kilpatrick Stockton, LLP </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rocket Scientist </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sculptor </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Panel (cont.) <ul><li>Steven P. Wigmore – King & Spalding LLP </li></ul>
  6. 6. Panel (cont.) <ul><li>Steven P. Wigmore – King & Spalding LLP </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Power Boater </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Bernard L. Zidar, Chief IP Counsel – McKesson Technology Solutions </li></ul>Panel (cont.)
  8. 8. <ul><li>Bernard L. Zidar, Chief IP Counsel – McKesson Technology Solutions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hang Glider Pilot </li></ul></ul>Panel (cont.)
  9. 9. Before In re Seagate – A Brief History <ul><li>1983: Federal Circuit decides Underwater Devices </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Where potential infringer has notice of patent rights, the infringer has an affirmative duty of due care to determine whether he is infringing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Underwater Devices spawned “Opinions of Counsel” as defense to willful infringement claims </li></ul><ul><li>Waiver of Attorney-Client Privilege </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Relying on opinion of counsel held to waive the attorney-client privilege as to the subject matter of the opinion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Different trial courts reached differing conclusions re scope of the waiver </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Recent Cases Before In re Seagate (cont.) <ul><li>Knorr-Bremse (Fed. Cir. 2004): Accused infringer’s failure to obtain legal advice does not give rise to an adverse inference re willfulness </li></ul><ul><li>Echostar (Fed. Cir. 2006): Relying on in-house counsel’s advice to refute a charge of willfulness triggers waiver of the attorney-client privilege </li></ul>
  11. 11. In re Seagate - Background <ul><li>Patent infringement suit by Convolve and MIT against Seagate alleging willful infringement of three patents: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Technology: techniques for increasing speed of computer disk drives by reducing unwanted vibrations that can lead to excessive noise and/or disk read/write errors </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Shortly before suit was filed, Seagate sought opinions on 2 of the patents </li></ul><ul><li>Obtained opinions on all three patents after suit filed </li></ul><ul><li>Opinions concluded (surprise!) the claims were invalid and/or not infringed </li></ul>
  12. 12. In re Seagate – Background (cont.) <ul><li>During the case, Seagate notified Convolve it intended to rely on the opinions as defense to willful infringement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Disclosed opinion writer’s work product </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Made opinion writer available for deposition </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Convolve moved to compel communications with and work product of Seagate’s other counsel </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In-house counsel </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trial counsel </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. In re Seagate – SDNY Holding <ul><li>Hon. George B. Daniels, United States District Judge </li></ul><ul><li>Seagate waived privilege for all communications with counsel re opinions, including with in-house and trial counsel </li></ul><ul><li>Waiver extended to work product communicated to Seagate </li></ul><ul><li>Waiver began when Seagate first learned of the patents and would not cease until the alleged infringement ends </li></ul><ul><li>Requests for stay and interlocutory appeal denied </li></ul>
  14. 14. In re Seagate – Federal Circuit <ul><li>Seagate moved for writ of mandamus </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Important issue of first impression </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Privilege would be lost if review denied </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Immediate resolution would avoid development of a doctrine to undermine privilege </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Federal Circuit sua sponte ordered en banc review, posing three questions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Does waiver in context of patent opinions extend to trial counsel? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is effect of any such waiver on work product immunity? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Should the Court reconsider Underwater Devices’ affirmative duty of care standard in the willfulness context? </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. In re Seagate – Willful Infringement <ul><li>Underwater Devices sunk – No more “affirmative duty of care” </li></ul><ul><li>New standard: “objective recklessness” </li></ul><ul><li>Two step approach to willful infringement cases: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(1) Patentee must show by clear and convincing evidence that the infringer acted despite an objectively high likelihood that its actions constituted infringement of a valid patent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(2) Patentee must demonstrate that this objectively defined risk was either known or so obvious that it should have been known to the accused infringer </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Willfulness generally determined at time of filing complaint </li></ul><ul><li>Preliminary injunction available to cure post-filing willful infringement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If preliminary injunction not granted, “likely the infringement did not rise to the level of recklessness” </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. In re Seagate – Privilege Waiver <ul><li>Subject matter waiver limited to opinion counsel only – No waiver re trial counsel </li></ul><ul><li>Communications with trial counsel have little relevance to whether infringer acted with willfulness </li></ul><ul><li>Not an absolute rule – waiver can be extended to trial counsel in cases of “chicanery” </li></ul>
  17. 17. “Chicanery” <ul><li>Definition: 1 : deception by artful subterfuge or sophistry : TRICKERY; 2 : a piece of sharp practice ( as at law ): TRICK (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/chicanery) (emphasis added) </li></ul><ul><li>Only used in four Federal Circuit cases, including twice in Seagate </li></ul><ul><li>The word “chic,” meaning subtlety, tact, or skill derives from chicanery – a compliment to the profession? </li></ul>
  18. 18. “Chicanery” <ul><li>Definition: 1 : deception by artful subterfuge or sophistry : TRICKERY; 2 : a piece of sharp practice (as at law): TRICK (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/chicanery) </li></ul><ul><li>Only used in four Federal Circuit cases, including twice in Seagate </li></ul><ul><li>The word “chic,” meaning subtlety, tact, or skill derives from chicanery – a compliment to the profession? </li></ul>
  19. 19. In re Seagate (Fed. Cir.) – Work Product <ul><li>Absent exceptional circumstances, work product waiver does not extend to trial counsel </li></ul><ul><li>Same rationale limiting attorney-client privilege applies with greater force in work product situation </li></ul><ul><li>Chicanery is bad here, too </li></ul>
  20. 20. In re Seagate (Fed. Cir.) – Concurrence <ul><li>Written by Judge Gajarsa </li></ul><ul><li>Judge Gajarsa would remove willfulness as a necessary element for an award of enhanced damages </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Willfulness” absent from statutory language </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Judges historically have awarded enhanced damages without “willfulness” requirement </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Questions and Discussion

×