Expert Testimony For Three Experts in Patent Case Allowed

In two separate opinions, the court allowed the testimony of three witnesses in a patent dispute.

Facts: This case (Emerson Electric Co. v. Suzhou Cleva Electric Applicance Co., Ltd. et al – September 30th, 2015) includes two opinions (here and here), both related to Daubert challenges.  These opinions will be of interest to patent expert witnesses.

Emerson claims that Suzhou infringed on six of their patents and defendant’s rebut that plaintiff’s patents are invalid.  In order to prove their cases, both parties called on experts to provide testimony.

Discussion: The first expert to be challenged is Dr. Bryce G. Rutter, who offered testimony on infringement and validity of the patents, all which relate to improved vacuum cleaner designs.  The defendants filed a motion to exclude this testimony on the ground that he is not qualified as one of ordinary skill in the pertinent art.  The parties agreed that, in this case, one of ordinary skill in the pertinent art is someone with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical or similar technical experience.  The defense states that Dr. Rutter does not qualify as an expert in this case as he doesn’t hold a bachelor’s degree in engineering and nothing in his experience equates to the study of mechanical engineering.  The court agreed with the plaintiff in that Dr. Rutter has extensive experience with appliance design and consumer vacuum appliances.

The second expert witness, Mr. David Bowen, was called by the plaintiff to opine on infringement of two of the patents.  The defense argues that Mr. Bowen did not use the methodology that he testified that he would use to determine whether or not there as any infringement.  The court disagreed, stating that Mr. Bowen did use reliable methodology in forming his opinions and there are no gaps in his analysis.  In addition, the defense argues that Mr. Bowen did not apply the claim language of one of the patents at issue in order to evaluate whether infringement took place.  The court again disagreed, stating that Mr. Bowen did indeed compare the claim language to the Accused Products.

The third defendant, Mr. Richard Ostroski, was called by the defense to opine on infringement and validity.  The plaintiff moves to exclude some of his opinions as unreliable  In addition, the plaintiff argues that some of his opinions should be excluded because his report was inadequately disclosed.  The defense states that Mr. Ostrocki’s testimony should be excluded as his opinions were not formed from the proper temporal perspective and that he did not place himself into the mind of a skilled artisan when the invention was created.  They state that he did not defin terminology in the patent as it was 20 years ago and only used them as they are today.  Mr. Ostroski stated that he didn’t believe that that the terms had changed over the past 20 years.   The court opined that this goes to the weight of the evidence, not it’s reliability.

Held:  The expert testimony of all three patent experts were denied.