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【波士頓大學LED案】法院同意億光提議重審損害賠償金計算

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科技產業資訊室 (iKnow) - Harry & May 發表於 2016年8月10日
圖、【波士頓大學LED案】法院同意億光提議重審損害賠償金計算
 
美國波士頓大學基金會(Trustees of Boston University,波士頓大學)與晶電、億光、光寶之間的專利訴訟糾紛始於 2012 年,前者向美國麻薩諸塞州聯邦法院提出專利侵權告訴,控告晶電侵犯其美國專利US5,686,738「高絕緣單晶氮化鎵薄膜」(Highly insulating monocrystalline gallium nitride thin films)專利。雖然波士頓大學 US5,686,738 專利已在 2014 年 11 月11日到期,但針對專利過期前的侵權爭議,該案仍持續審理,至今纏訟四年,陪審團於2015年11月19日裁定原告專利有效且被告產品構成侵權,並決定賠償金額。

關於專利到期日核算步驟:
1995 June.8 以前申請的US專利年限 = "最早母案申請日 + 20年" 或 "核准日 + 17 年", 兩者取其晚者。本案如何核算:
因為:

公開號    US5686738 A
申請書編號    US 08/372,113
發佈日期        1997年11月11日
申請日期        1995年1月13日
優先權日期    1991年3月18日
所以, 兩者取其晚者:取發佈日期1997+17年=2014年11月11日

波士頓大學基金會多年來以 US5,686,738 專利提起數十件專利侵權告訴,涉及訴訟對象除了晶電外,還包括日亞化學(Nichia)、億光、光寶、宏齊、首爾半導體(Seoul Semiconductor)、三星等 LED 廠,又於 2013 年起控告如宏碁、華碩、明基電通、宏達電、Dell、微軟、東芝、索尼、LG、蘋果、亞馬遜等終端品牌大廠。

波士頓大學則與 LED 晶片廠科銳(CREE)關係良好,將 US5,686,738 專利授權給科銳使用。此外,曾在 2001 年遭波士頓大學控告侵權的日亞化學,後於2015年 11 月與波士頓大學達成和解。

波士頓大學曾提出和解賠償金及法院陪審團評決
依據BU律師Michael Shore 表示,BU曾提出和解賠償金額,各階段而有不同價碼變化 [註一],如下:
BU律師曾開出和解時機與條件 和解金
Pre-IPR & Markman hearing US$ 10M
Trial階段 US$16M
法院陪審團判決金額(2015.11.19) 賠償金額
陪審團判決侵害成立,未加重前賠償金額 $13.7 million
BU在動議中所尋求的賠償金額 已經被判決否決(2016.7.22)
陪審團也判決惡意侵害成立 1. Enhance賠償金額US$ 18M (Epistar) +8M (Everlight);
2. Cost & interest US$ 20M;
3. Attorney fee US$ 5M

2015年11月19日經美國法院陪審團於評定侵權成立,晶電、億光、光寶,各須賠償930萬、400萬及36.5萬美元。 同時,陪審團也評定惡意侵權成立,但法官尚未就惡意侵權裁定賠償金。

2016年4月27日法院判決駁回Epistar的 lache防禦;針對晶電,自起訴日回溯6年收取prejudgment interest並加計利息,按年複利率計算,但最後的Enhance damage 金額還沒有宣判。

法院同意億光提議重審損害賠償計算
依據2016年7月22日法院判決,波士頓大學基金會控告億光、晶電、光寶三案【12-cv-11935-PBS、12-cv-12326-PBS、12-cv-12330-PBS】合併審理,以下報導重點:
07/22/2016 146  Chief Judge Patti B. Saris: MEMORANDUM AND ORDER entered finding as moot (1723) Motion to Compel; granting in part and denying in part (1732) Motion for Attorney Fees; finding as moot (1742) Motion to Strike in case 1:12-cv-11935-PBS Associated Cases: 1:12-cv-11935-PBS, 1:12-cv-12326-PBS, 1:12-cv-12330-PBS (adminn, ) (Entered: 07/22/2016)
07/22/2016 145  Chief Judge Patti B. Saris: MEMORANDUM and ORDER entered. BU's motion for enhanced damages (Docket No. 1632 ) is DENIED.
Associated Cases: 1:12-cv-11935-PBS, 1:12-cv-12326-PBS, 1:12-cv-12330-PBS
(Geraldino-Karasek, Clarilde) (Entered: 07/22/2016)
07/22/2016 144  Chief Judge Patti B. Saris: MEMORANDUM and ORDER entered. For the foregoing reasons, the defendants renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50(b), and motion for a new trial, or remittitur, under Rule 59 (Docket No. 1728 ), is DENIED in part and ALLOWED in part. The Court DENIES the motion for judgment as a matter of law in its entirety, and DENIES the motion for a new trial on all issues, except damages. The Court ALLOWS the motion for a new trial on damages, or remittitur, with respect to Epistar and Everlight, and DENIES the motion with respect to Lite-On. BU shall inform the Court within two weeks whether it accepts the remittitur or seeks a new trial on damages. It shall also submit a separate form of judgment as to each defendant. If BU requests a new trial on damages, the Court anticipates the defendants will appeal all other issues to the Federal Circuit, before a new trial on damages, under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(c)(2). Cf. Bosch v. Pylon Mfg. Corp., 719 F.3d 1305, 1313 (Fed. Cir. 2013).
Associated Cases: 1:12-cv-11935-PBS, 1:12-cv-12326-PBS, 1:12-cv-12330-PBS
(Geraldino-Karasek, Clarilde) (Entered: 07/22/2016)
 
#144 order:法院拒絕Everlight 所提出的大多數動議,但其中同意了重新審理(new trial)關於計算損害賠償(damage)的部分;也就是重審晶電(Epistar)及億光(Everlight)之損害賠償,但拒絕重審光寶(Lite-On)。

ORDER
For the foregoing reasons, the defendants’ renewed motion for judgment as a matter of law pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50(b), and motion for a new trial, or remittitur, under Rule 59 (Docket No. 1728), is DENIED in part and ALLOWED in part. The Court DENIES the motion for judgment as a matter of law in its entirety, and DENIES the motion for a new trial on all issues, except damages. The Court ALLOWS the motion for a new trial on damages, or remittitur, with respect to Epistar and Everlight, and DENIES the motion with respect to Lite-On.

#145 order:法院拒絕BU提出要求Everlight 支付加重損害賠償(enhanced damage)動議。

雖然
陪審團認為有構成故意侵害,但法官認為:當初陪審團審理時所收到的法院指示 court instruction 是依據 Seagate CAFC 判例揭櫫之標準. 但基於 Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc., 136 S. Ct. 1923 (2016) 判決, US 最高法院已經推翻 Seagate 判例。故法官認為陪審團係依據錯誤標準而裁定構成故意侵害, 故該部分裁定不予採納;  法官改依據他所擁有的裁量權, 認定原告 BU 並未證明被告構成故意侵害。

 At trial, the jury found that both defendants willfully infringed the patent. The Court instructed the jury: “To prove willfulness, Boston University must persuade you by clear and convincing evidence . . . that the defendant actually knew, or it was so obvious that the defendant should have known, that its actions constituted an unjustifiably high likelihood of infringement of a valid patent.” Trial Tr. vol. 10, Docket No. 1600 at 28-29. This instruction was based on the subjective willfulness prong of In re Seagate Tech., LLC, 497 F.3d 1360, 1371 (Fed. Cir. 2007) (en banc). BU argues that the jury’s willfulness finding is binding on the Court, that enhanced damages are required, and that the Court’s discretion lies only in deciding what amount of enhanced damages to award. The defendants respond that, because Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc., 136 S. Ct. 1923 (2016), completely rejected the Seagate test, the Court should accord no weight to the jury’s finding of willful infringement because it was based on the wrong standard. 

ORDER
BU’s motion for enhanced damages (Docket No. 1632) is DENIED.

#146 order: 
法院同意BU所提出要求Everlight 支付專家證人費(expert witness fee ) $1,188,220,第三方費用成本$1,084,058 動議;
法院部分同意/部分拒絕BU所提出要求Everlight 支付律師費(attorney fee ) $9,359,276 的動議。
 
法院同意Everlight需支付BU兩部分律師費:
(1)
   Everlight 的前任律師曾表示2014 Apr. 所提供銷售資料只包含GaN產品,但開庭前六週,Everlight改主張那些銷售資料也包含 (無侵害的) non-GaN 產品銷售資料;Everlight如此立場改變所衍生的原告律師費。

(2)   BU 於2014年10月特派律師來台檢視Everlight 設施中相關的銷售資料出差行程的相關費用。


Here, both sides tangoed. Considering the totality of the circumstances, the Court cannot assign blame for this contentiousness to one side. For these reasons, as well as those outlined in the Court’s order denying BU’s request for enhanced damages, the Court finds that the jury’s finding of subjective willfulness with respect to Epistar and Everlight2 does not make this an “exceptional case” so as to warrant a complete award of attorneys’ fees.
 
However, during two phases of this case, the defendants did engage in litigation misconduct that supports a partial award of attorneys’ fees to BU: (1) Everlight’s ever-changing explanation of the sales data that it provided BU and (2) the October 2014 trip to Taiwan to review the defendants’ sales data. First, BU is entitled to attorneys’ fees incurred as a direct result of Everlight’s shifting litigation positions regarding the contents of the sales data that it provided to BU.

In April 2014, Everlight produced several sales data spreadsheets to BU. Defendants concede that prior counsel for Everlight “inexplicably suggested to BU’s counsel that the sales data only included packages containing GaN LEDs. Docket No.1741 at 18. For two years, BU relied on this representation. BU’s damages expert, Mr. Alan Ratliff, formulated his expert report on the basis of Everlight’s description of this data. Just six weeks before trial, on October 5, 2015, Everlight’s expert stated that BU had erred in defining the royalty base. In his report, Dr. Russell W. Mangum III explained that Mr.Ratliff’s calculations “include[d] numerous products which I understand are not accused of infringing the ’738 Patent.” Docket No. 1426, Ex. 3 at 29. He then provided his own revised estimates, noting that “the effect of eliminating non-accused products is substantial.” Id.

Everlight’s change in position was costly, both for BU and the Court. Nine additional briefs were filed, and BU was forced to revisit its royalty base calculations during the final weeks of trial preparation. The issue also caused significant confusion at trial. Worse still, Everlight’s explanation for the dramatic about-face repeatedly changed. Everlight now refers to the episode as a mistake resulting in the “over-identification of GaN LED products” and Everlight “overstating its GaN sales figures.” Docket No. 1741 at 5, 23. But, in October 2015, Everlight claimed that the error was of BU’s making, asserting that BU had used its access to Everlight’s SAP system to falsely include non-GaN products in its royalty base: “BU used its own derivation of the data, not the produced documents it possessed since August 2014.” Docket No. 1456 at 8. Everlight then accused BU of using this false information to its benefit, arguing that “BU had the ability and the motivation” to check Mr. Ratliff’s figures against Everlight’s SAP database, but BU “chose not to, for the obvious inference that it preferred a higher damages number over an accurate one.” Id. Everlight changed course again at trial when it suggested that its original spreadsheets had properly included both GaN and non-GaN products because BU’s infringement contentions included both. Confusion over the sales data, Everlight then claimed, was not because BU augmented the spreadsheets Everlight provided with additional non-GaN product data, but because Everlight had produced a spreadsheet responsive to BU’s overly broad infringement contentions. Unable to definitively resolve whether the data that Everlight produced in April 2014—and upon which Mr. Ratliff relied—included only GaN products or both GaN and non-GaN products, the Court gave the jury an adverse inference instruction.4 I find that Everlight acted negligently in the production of inaccurate sales data which likely overstated Everlight’s damages, that its former counsel negligently represented the content of the sales data, and that Everlight acted in bad faith when it tried to place the blame on BU. This last-minute confusion prejudiced BU in the presentation of the damages case.

For this reason, the Court orders Everlight to pay BU its attorneys’ fees directly attributable to the misrepresentation surrounding the sales data that Everlight originally described as including only GaN products.

Second, BU is entitled to attorneys’ fees incurred in preparation for and during its October 2014 trip to Taiwan to inspect sales documents. For nearly a year, the parties squabbled over the extent and means of production of relevant sales data. In July 2014, BU and Epistar appeared to reach an agreement on the production of purchase order data relating to the accused products. Soon after, Epistar informed BU that it could only inspect the documents at its facilities in Taiwan. In response, BU offered to cover the costs of shipping the documents from Taiwan to the United States. Epistar refused.

Epistar countered that BU could instead pay for the documents to be scanned. BU objected to doing so. On September 30, 2014, Magistrate Judge Boal expressed concern with Epistar’s obstinacy, noting that during “the course of discovery in this case, Epistar inappropriately attempted to shift to BU its obligations to search for and review documents for responsiveness and confidentiality,” and reminding “Epistar that it has an obligation to review and identify documents which are responsive to BU’s requests.” Docket No. 832 at 4 n.3. Ultimately, BU had to repeatedly travel to Taiwan to obtain access to the sales data. In its October 2014 trip, BU visited Taiwan to review the pertinent documents onsite at Epistar’s facilities. However, Epistar “did not review any of the documents prior to making them available to BU. ” Docket No. 911 at 3-4. Magistrate Judge Boal again noted that the Court was “left with the impression that Epistar has been dragging its heels in the course of discovery” and “continues to attempt to shift to BU its own discovery obligations.” Id. at 5. Magistrate Judge Boal ordered Epistar to reimburse BU for its travel expenses for the unproductive trip to Taiwan.6
6 In exchange for access to the defendants’ SAP systems, BU agreed to forego its right to this discovery sanction.

原告BU針對重新審理損害賠償之提議
隨之,原告BU於2016年8月3日提出其支持複議或者重新審理損害賠償之提案(PLAINTIFF’S BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF ITS MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF ORDER GRANTING REMITTITUR OR A NEW TRIAL ON DAMAGES)。BU針對重新審理損害賠償之提議,認為:
 
一、若BU以強勢的談判地位,一次性支付將導致比Cree公司支付的金額更高。
(Boston University’s much stronger negotiating position in the hypothetical negotiation would have resulted in a lump-sum amount many multiples higher than the amounts paid by Cree.)。

以下是,Cree與BU談判時,提出四種一次性支付授權金模式:


本案若比照Cree-BU授權模式,一次性支付約$2,775,000 至$7,983,535.56之間,約高出2~3倍。


二、若採用RPX授權模式,一次性支付將超過900萬美元(A comparable license analysis of the RPX license supports a lump-sum amount of over $9 million.)
 
三、若以缺乏非侵權的替代品和迴避設計成本,進行一次性支付的假設談判。
(The lack of noninfringing alternatives and the cost of a design around would further increase the lump-sum amount of the hypothetical negotiation.)
此種協商模式,證明成本仍是高的。
 
四、被告願意支付一次性金額相較於法院判決其他公司所支付可比技術更大。(Defendants were willing to pay lump-sum amounts greater than the verdict for comparable technology.)


五、法院提議 $ 100萬的數額並非被證明是可支持的最大金額。(The Court’s remittitur amount of $1M is not the maximum recovery supported by the evidence.)

接下來,就是法官要重審損害賠償金計算,靜待下回報導。至於,損害賠償金是否
有可能降低? 若法官同意 “排除 non-GaN部分的營業額”,這樣damage就可以降低了,而億光代價是已經支付BU專利證人費 & 部分律師費了。(1430 字;圖3)
 
*註一,law360 報導 Semiconductor Cos. Can't Sink $14M IP Award To Boston U.
By Kelly Knaub, Law360, New York (April 27, 2016)

檔案下載:

1. download.gif144-order-deny-damage-in-part.pdf
2. download.gif145-enhanced-damage-deny.pdf
3. download.gif146-order-grant-part-BU's attorney & expert fee.pdf



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