Last Thursday, December 5, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3309 (“the Innovation Act”), a patent reform bill generally directed to perceived patent litigation abuse by certain patent assertion entities (what some call “patent trolls”).  Prior draft versions of the House bill had gone through several revisions in the past few months (see our September

It’s been relatively quiet in the Western District of Washington over the past couple weeks, as Motorola and Microsoft move forward toward an August jury trial on Microsoft’s RAND-based breach of contract claims.  But according to a minute order filed by the court this past Tuesday, this week the parties raised two separate disputes for

Late Friday, Microsoft responded to the letter brief filed by Motorola last week in the parties’  RAND breach of contract case.  In its responsive letter brief [LINK], Microsoft disputes Motorola’s versions of the facts, and contends that Motorola has long known about the bases on which Microsoft would be seeking damages for breach of contract.  In particular, Microsoft claims that Motorola has known for over a year that Microsoft would be seeking to recover the costs of moving its EMEA distribution center from Germany to the Netherlands.  Microsoft suggests that Motorola’s efforts to limit Microsoft’s damages theories are nothing but a pretext for Motorola to actually dismiss Microsoft’s claims for damages for breach of contract.
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In the aftermath of last week’s Microsoft-Motorola RAND-setting opinion, the case will now to proceed toward an August trial date.  At this trial — if it gets that far — either Judge Robart or a jury (this issue is still up in the air) will determine (1) whether Motorola breach its RAND obligations to the IEEE and ITU; (2) if a breach has occurred, whether Microsoft is entitled to damages as a result; and (3) the amount of any damages owed.  As we’ve noted before, Microsoft will likely seek summary judgment prior to trial, given the difference between Motorola’s opening 2.25% offer and the final RAND royalty rate set by Judge Robart.  But either way, the issues of breach of contract and potential damages remain in the case, and the parties are currently taking some limited discovery on these issues.

Yesterday, Motorola filed a letter motion with the court [LINK], asking it to limit the theories on which Microsoft may base its damages claims.  Motorola asserts that in recent weeks, Microsoft has significantly (and improperly) expanded its damages contentions in violation of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, prejudicing Motorola’s ability to prepare its own case.


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Today, Mon., Apr. 9, 2012, in In re MSTG, Misc. No. 996, the Federal Circuit (Rader, Dyk and Moore) on mandamus affirmed a district court’s ruling that the patent owner must produce negotiation documents underlying settlement agreements, ruling that there was no settlement privilege to preclude such production.  This case will impact the usual discovery disputes about production of settlement documents, but leaves enough unanswered questions for further development and parties may alter litigation strategies accordingly.
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