Category Archives: Other Challenges

Procedural Missteps Lead to Default Judgment

Authors: Thomas J. Sullivan
Editor: Lauren J. Dreyer

In United Construction Products, Inc. v. Tile Tech, Inc., No. 2016-1392 (Fed. Cir. December 15, 2016), the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s entry of default judgment against Tile Tech. The panel noted that, throughout the course of the litigation, Tile Tech repeatedly failed to comply with discovery requests—including an order to compel. Applying Ninth Circuit precedent on default judgments, the Court found that four of the five Malone factors favored dismissal: (1) the public’s interest in expeditious resolution of litigation; (2) the lower court’s need to manage its docket without routine noncompliance; (3) Tile Tech’s failure to comply with discovery requests prejudicing the plaintiff’s ability to adjudicate the matter fairly; and (4) the lack of availability of less drastic sanctions. The Court held that the last factor—public policy favoring disposition of cases on their merits rather than dismissal by default judgment—always weighed against default judgment. Continue reading

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Federal Circuit Trends of 2016

Authors: Alissa Lipton, Eric Raciti
Editor: Lauren J. Dreyer

Join us as we review what has been an exciting year at the Federal Circuit and help ring in 2017 with a New Year’s reception at Finnegan’s Boston office on Wednesday, January 11, 2017! We will provide insights on the top Federal Circuit decisions and trends of 2016.

Below, we highlight some of the issues we will discuss on January 11:
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In-House and Outside Counsel Disqualified and Complaint Dismissed Where In-House Counsel Played Significant Role in Preparing Lawsuit Against Former Employer

Author: Hala S. Mourad
Editor: Jeff T. Watson

In Dynamic 3D Geosolutions LLC v. Schlumberger Ltd., Nos. 15-1628, -1629 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 12, 2016), the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision to disqualify Dynamic 3D’s counsel and dismiss its patent infringement complaint without prejudice because Charlotte Rutherford, Dynamic 3D’s in-house counsel at a related subsidiary, previously worked for Schlumberger and was presumed to possess relevant confidential information.

Dynamic 3D sued Schlumberger, alleging infringement of U.S. Patent 7,986,319, which discloses three-dimensional displays of geological data. After Schlumberger raised the potential conflict of interest, the district court found that Rutherford’s work at Schlumberger was substantially related to her current work at Acacia Research Group LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Acacia Research Corporation, the parent company of Dynamic 3D. The district court disqualified Rutherford, other Acacia in-house counsel, and Dynamic 3D’s outside counsel from representing Dynamic 3D. The district court also dismissed Dynamic 3D’s claims against Schlumberger without prejudice because the pleadings were drafted by counsel Rutherford interacted with who were presumed to possess Schlumberger’s confidential information.

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