Lighting Ballast Control, LLC v. Philips Electronics North America Corp., Civil Action No. 7:09–CV–29–O.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Northern District of Texas
Writing for the CourtREED O'CONNOR
Citation2011 Markman 3844153,814 F.Supp.2d 665
PartiesLIGHTING BALLAST CONTROL, LLC, Plaintiff, v. PHILIPS ELECTRONICS NORTH AMERICA CORP., et al., Defendants.
Docket NumberCivil Action No. 7:09–CV–29–O.
Decision Date26 August 2011

2011 Markman 3844153
814 F.Supp.2d 665

LIGHTING BALLAST CONTROL, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
PHILIPS ELECTRONICS NORTH AMERICA CORP., et al., Defendants.

Civil Action No. 7:09–CV–29–O.

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Wichita Falls Division.

Aug. 26, 2011.


[814 F.Supp.2d 669]

Jonathan T. Suder, David A. Skeels, Glenn S. Orman, Friedman Suder & Cooke PC, Fort Worth, TX, for Plaintiff.

Deborah L. Sterling, Brenda T. Cubbage, Spencer Crain Cubbage Healy & McNamara, Dallas, TX, Diana Szego, Sten Jensen, Steve Routh, Timothy Vann Pearce, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, Vincent P. Kovalick, Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner LLP, Washington, DC, John R. Inge, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, Tokyo, Japan, Trey Yarbrough, Yarbrough Wilcox PLLC, Tyler, TX, for Defendants.

[814 F.Supp.2d 670]

MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
REED O'CONNOR, District Judge.

Before the Court are Plaintiff Lighting Ballast Control, LLC's (“LBC”) Motion for Judgment (ECF No. 244) filed on July 27, 2011, Defendant Universal Lighting Technologies, Inc.'s (“ULT”) Response (ECF No. 249), LBC's Reply (ECF No. 250), ULT's Response and Objection to LBC's Reply (ECF No. 253), and LBC's Response to ULT's Objection (ECF No. 254). Also before the Court are Defendant ULT's Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law (ECF No. 246), filed on June 27, 2011, Plaintiff LBC's Response (ECF No. 247), and ULT's Reply (ECF No. 252).

Having reviewed the motions and the applicable law, the Court finds that Defendant ULT's Motion should be and is hereby GRANTED in part and DENIED in part, and Plaintiff LBC's Motion should be and is hereby GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

I. FACTUAL & PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND 1

At issue in this case is United States Patent 5,436,529 (“ '529 Patent”) issued on July 25, 1995, and entitled “CONTROL AND PROTECTION CIRCUIT FOR ELECTRONIC BALLAST.” See Summ. J. Order 1, May 4, 2011, ECF No. 172. Plaintiff LBC holds the exclusive right to enforce the '529 Patent. Id. The '529 Patent covers a lighting ballast that powers fluorescent lamps with heatable filaments. Id. at 2. An electronic ballast practicing the '529 Patent operates in three different stages: (1) the initial start-up of the ballast, (2) the shut-down or sleep-mode of the ballast, and (3) the re-starting of the ballast after an inoperable lamp has been replaced. Id.

LBC instituted this action against ULT for infringement of the '529 Patent on February 24, 2009. Id. This case was tried to a jury on LBC's contention that 46 of ULT's lighting ballast products literally infringe claims 1, 2 and 5 of the '529 patent during the week of June 13, 2011. See ECF No. 226. After the close of LBC's case, and again at the close of the evidence, ULT moved from entry of Judgment as a Matter of Law on the basis of non-infringement and invalidity pursuant to Rule 50(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The Court denied these motions.

On June 17, 2011, the jury returned a verdict finding: 1) all seven ULT product groups infringed claims 1, 2 and 5 of the '529 patent; 2) the asserted claims were not invalid as anticipated; 3) that there was no willful infringement; and 4) awarding “3,000,000.00” in damages to LBC. See Jury Charge 24–27, ECF No. 241. On June 27, 2011, in accord with the Court's June 18, 2011 Order, LBC filed a motion for entry of judgment seeking: 1) an award of prejudgment and post-judgment interest and entry of the $3,000,000.00 damages award; 2) a finding that this is an exceptional case under 35 U.S.C. § 285 on the basis of ULT's litigation misconduct, justifying an award of attorney's fees; 3) a permanent injunction barring ULT from continuing to infringe claims 1, 2 and 5 of

[814 F.Supp.2d 671]

the '529 patent; and 4) a declaration stating that the '529 patent is infringed and valid. See LBC's Mot. Entry J.1, ECF No. 244.

On the same day, pursuant to the Court's June 18, 2011 Order and Rule 50 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, ULT moved for Judgment as a Matter of Law on seven grounds: 1) the record does not contain legally sufficient evidence that the accused ULT products met the “output terminals connected to” limitation of claim 1 of the '529 patent; 2) the record does not contain legally sufficient evidence that the accused ULT products met the “control means” limitation of the '529 patent; 3) the record does not contain legally sufficient evidence that the accused products met the “direct current block means” limitation of the '529 patent; 4) the record does not contain legally sufficient evidence that the Linear Group 3 products infringe the ' 529 patent; 5) LBC failed to rebut the uncontested evidence that the ' 529 patent is invalid as anticipated by Japanese patent applications '799 and '997; 6) the record does not contain sufficient evidence to show compliance with the marking requirements of 35 U.S.C. § 284; and 7) based on the record evidence, the Court should clarify that the damages award represents a lump sum reasonable royalty award. See ULT's Mot. J. as a Matter of Law (“JMOL”) 1–2, ECF No. 246.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Rule 50 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs motions for judgment as a matter of law in jury trials. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 50; see also Weisgram v. Marley Co., 528 U.S. 440, 448–49, 120 S.Ct. 1011, 145 L.Ed.2d 958 (2000). A motion for judgment as a matter of law “is not a patent-law-specific issue, so regional circuit law applies.” Harris Corp. v. Ericsson Inc., 417 F.3d 1241, 1248 (Fed.Cir.2005). Rule 50(a) “authorizes the entry of judgment as a matter of law ‘[i]f a party has been fully heard on an issue during a jury trial and the court finds that a reasonable jury would not have a legally sufficient evidentiary basis to find for the party on that issue.’ ” See James v. Harris Cnty., 577 F.3d 612, 617 (5th Cir.2009) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(a)). “It allows the trial court to remove cases or issues from the jury's consideration ‘when the facts are sufficiently clear that the law requires a particular result.’ ” Weisgram, 528 U.S. at 448, 120 S.Ct. 1011 (quoting 9 Wright & Miller § 2521). “If the court does not grant a motion for judgment as a matter of law made under Rule 50(a), the court is considered to have submitted the action to the jury subject to the court's later deciding the legal questions raised by the motion.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(b).

“[I]n entertaining a motion for judgment as a matter of law, the court should review all of the evidence in the record.” Reeves, 530 U.S. at 150, 120 S.Ct. 2097. “In doing so, however, the court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party, and it may not make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence.” Id. (citing Lytle v. Household Mfg., Inc., 494 U.S. 545, 554–55, 110 S.Ct. 1331, 108 L.Ed.2d 504 (1990)). “ ‘Credibility determinations, the weighing of the evidence, and the drawing of legitimate inferences from the facts are jury functions, not those of a judge.’ ” Id. at 150–51, 120 S.Ct. 2097 (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 255, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986)). “Thus, although the court should review the record as a whole, it must disregard all evidence favorable to the moving party that the jury is not required to believe.” Id. at 151, 120 S.Ct. 2097.

“A motion for judgment as a matter of law is appropriate if, after considering

[814 F.Supp.2d 672]

the evidence presented and viewing all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmovant, the facts and inferences point so strongly in favor of the movant that a rational jury could not arrive at a contrary verdict.” Murray v. Red Kap Indus., Inc., 124 F.3d 695, 697 (5th Cir.1997). The Court must determine “whether ‘the facts and inferences point so strongly and overwhelmingly in favor of one party that the court concludes that reasonable jurors could not arrive at a contrary verdict.’ ” Harris Corp., 417 F.3d at 1248 (quoting Bellows v. Amoco Oil Co., 118 F.3d 268, 273 (5th Cir.1997)). “If there is substantial evidence of such quality and weight that reasonable and fair-minded jurors might reach a different conclusion” then judgment as a matter of law is not appropriate. Id. “We must remember, however, that evidence sufficient to support a jury verdict must be substantial evidence.” Guile v. United States, 422 F.3d 221, 227 (5th Cir.2005). “[T]he party opposing the motion must at least establish a conflict in substantial evidence on each essential element of their claim.” See Anthony v. Chevron USA, Inc., 284 F.3d 578, 583 (5th Cir.2002) (citing Boeing Co. v. Shipman, 411 F.2d 365, 374 (5th Cir.1969) (en banc)). “The ‘standard of review with respect to a jury verdict is especially deferential.’ ” Lubke v. City of Arlington, 455 F.3d 489, 494 (5th Cir.2006) (quoting Brown v. Bryan Cnty., 219 F.3d 450, 456 (5th Cir.2000)).

III. MOTION FOR JUDGMENT AS A MATTER OF LAW

The Court will first consider ULT's Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law, and then consider LBC's Motion for Entry of Judgment.

ULT moves for judgment as a matter of law on seven grounds: 1) the record does not contain legally sufficient evidence that the accused ULT products meet the “output terminals connected to” limitation of claim 1 of the '529 patent; 2) the record does not contain legally sufficient evidence that the accused ULT products meet the “control means” limitation of the '529 patent; 3) the record does not contain legally sufficient evidence that the accused products meet the “direct current block means” limitation of the ' 529 patent; 4) the record does not contain legally sufficient evidence that the Linear Group 3 products infringe the '529 patent; 5) LBC failed to rebut the uncontested evidence that the '529 patent is invalid as anticipated by Japanese patent applications '799 and '997; 6) the record does not contain legally sufficient evidence that LBC complied with the marking requirements of 35 U.S.C. § 284; and 7) based on the record evidence, the Court should clarify that...

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3 practice notes
  • Skeels v. Suder, 02-18-00112-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • October 14, 2021
    ...in a $4.5 million jury verdict in favor of the Firm's client. See Lighting Ballast Control, LLC v. Philips Elecs. N. Am. Corp., 814 F.Supp.2d 665, 670, 698 (N.D. Tex. 2011), rev'd, 498 Fed.Appx. 986, 987 (Fed. Cir. 2013), [3] vacated & remanded, 574 U.S. 1133 (2015), affd, 790 F.3d 1329, 13......
  • Skeels v. Suder, No. 02-18-00112-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • June 17, 2021
    ...in a $4.5 million jury verdict in favor of the Firm's client. See Lighting Ballast Control, LLC v. PhilipsPage 5 Elecs. N. Am. Corp., 814 F. Supp. 2d 665, 670, 698 (N.D. Tex. 2011), rev'd, 498 F. App'x 986, 987 (Fed. Cir. 2013), vacated & remanded, 574 U.S. 1133 (2015), aff'd, 790 F.3d 1329......
  • Louisiana Forestry Ass'n, Inc. v. Solis, Civil Action No. 11–1623.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Louisiana
    • December 13, 2011
    ...Federal Regulations provides that the Secretary of Labor has authority to “establish procedures for administering the temporary labor [814 F.Supp.2d 665] certification program under his or her jurisdiction.” 8 CFR § 214.2(h)(6)(iii)(D). However, what we have seen of the Pennsylvania record ......
3 cases
  • Skeels v. Suder, 02-18-00112-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • October 14, 2021
    ...in a $4.5 million jury verdict in favor of the Firm's client. See Lighting Ballast Control, LLC v. Philips Elecs. N. Am. Corp., 814 F.Supp.2d 665, 670, 698 (N.D. Tex. 2011), rev'd, 498 Fed.Appx. 986, 987 (Fed. Cir. 2013), [3] vacated & remanded, 574 U.S. 1133 (2015), affd, 790 F.3d 1329, 13......
  • Skeels v. Suder, No. 02-18-00112-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • June 17, 2021
    ...in a $4.5 million jury verdict in favor of the Firm's client. See Lighting Ballast Control, LLC v. PhilipsPage 5 Elecs. N. Am. Corp., 814 F. Supp. 2d 665, 670, 698 (N.D. Tex. 2011), rev'd, 498 F. App'x 986, 987 (Fed. Cir. 2013), vacated & remanded, 574 U.S. 1133 (2015), aff'd, 790 F.3d 1329......
  • Louisiana Forestry Ass'n, Inc. v. Solis, Civil Action No. 11–1623.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Louisiana
    • December 13, 2011
    ...Federal Regulations provides that the Secretary of Labor has authority to “establish procedures for administering the temporary labor [814 F.Supp.2d 665] certification program under his or her jurisdiction.” 8 CFR § 214.2(h)(6)(iii)(D). However, what we have seen of the Pennsylvania record ......

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