Judge Sleet Refuses to Alter Discovery Sanctions

In a multidistrict patent infringement case concerning plaintiff Cephalon’s armodafinil drug, Chief Judge Sleet entered an order, precluding Cephalon from relying upon any secondary considerations of non-obviousness due to Cephalon’s late production of documents. Judge Sleet, however, left Cephalon with the opportunity to later argue that it could rely on certain documents if they had been timely produced and would not prejudice the defendants. Cephalon subsequently filed a motion to narrow Judge Sleet’s order to allow reliance on “non-commercial” secondary considerations. In re Armodafinil Patent Litigation, C.A. No. 10-md-2200-GMS, at 1 (D. Del. June 26, 2012).

Cephalon argued that the defendants would not be prejudiced by allowing it to rely on the secondary considerations of copying and long-felt-need because all documents it sought to rely on were timely identified. The Court found, however, that the defendants were prejudiced by having been denied the opportunity to conduct full discovery on issues raised by late-produced documents. Because “[o]bviousness is determined in light of all the circumstances surrounding the alleged invention . . . even if Cephalon timely-produced some documents related to some secondary considerations, the defendants remain prejudiced because the late-produced documents may contain relevant information that the defendants could have relied upon to rebut the timely-produced materials.” Id. at 2 n.3. “It would be inherently unfair,” Judge Sleet wrote, “to give Cephalon the unfair advantage of being able to rely upon cherry-picked secondary considerations of long-felt need and copying, while those documents potentially unfavorable to its position remain buried within its late production to the defendants.” Id.

In re Armodafinil Patent Litigation, C.A. No. 10-md-2200-GMS (D. Del. June 26, 2012).

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