A recent case serves as a reminder that potential litigants in this district, and particularly before Judge Farnan, should consider their options in pursuing bifurcation should it be helpful to their case as the Court will be open to various combinations in managing these complex cases.
Judge Farnan recently held on a motion for reconsideration, that it is not a violation of a party’s Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial to allow a bifurcated trial first on the issues of infringement and damages and then on the issue of invalidity. Power Integrations, Inc. v. Fairchild Semiconductor Int’l, Inc., et al., C.A. No. 04-1371-JJF (D. Del. Aug. 22, 2006). Although the same evidence may be presented at both trials, the Court followed Federal Circuit precedent in holding that these are not the same issues and therefore they may be presented to separate juries. Of particular note is the fact that willfulness was to be tried with infringement and damages before any decision on invalidity. The Court made a specific note that any potential problems in the damages calculation could be rectified by the jury verdict form or if necessary a recalculation by the court after the trial on invalidity.
On a procedural side note, the Court found that the defendants’ motion for reconsideration was not untimely, as the timing set forth in Local Rule 7.1.5 begins when the order is entered onto the Court’s docket (not when signed or orally entered). Therefore, when filing a motion for reconsideration, begin your 10 day countdown on the day of the entry on the Court’s docket.