A blog about patent, copyright and trademark law in the U.S. District Court
for the Southern District of New York

No Collateral Estoppel from General Jury Verdict in Patent Infringement Action

In an August 1, 2013 ruling, Judge George B. Daniels denied reconsideration of his earlier decision declining to give collateral estoppel effect to a general jury verdict from the Eastern District of Texas finding non-infringement of two patents asserted by Alcatel-Lucent USA, Inc.  After the Eastern District of Texas jury verdict was rendered finding that Overstock and Newegg did not infringe the Alcatel-Lucent patents, Barnes & Noble, Inc. moved before Judge Daniels seeking to collaterally estop the assertion of those same patents against it.  The Court denied the motion, and Barnes & Noble sought reconsideration, arguing that the Court "'misapprehended or overlooked . . . how to interpret the general verdicts of non-infringement in the Texas case.'"  Judge Daniels rejected the argument, stating:  "To find non-infringement, the jury only had to find that the accused Newegg and Overstock systems did not include each and every requirement or limitation of the claims. . . . Given the general jury verdict, there is no way of knowing which requirement recited in the asserted patent claims the jury found were not met.  Consequently, there is also no way of knowing if the requirement the jury found not met is identical to a limitation in the different claims at issue in this case."
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