Frito-Lay brought a lawsuit against Medallion Foods for allegedly trademark infringement, trade dress infringement, unfair competition, and dilution under United States Trademark Act. Frito-Lay also alleged willful patent infringement under the patent laws of the United States.
In its amended complaint Frito-Lay alleged that Medallion Foods’ tortilla chips result from processes, which infringe one or more claims of United States Patent No. 6,610,344 either literally or under the doctrine of equivalents. Additionally, Frito-Lay contends that Medallion Foods is liable for infringing the ‘344 Patent under U.S.C. § 271, as well as the infringement being willful, entitling Frito-Lay to enhanced damages under §284.
Both sides tried to limit the scope of trial through pre-trial motion practice. On October 4, 2012, Frito-Lay filed a motion for summary judgment on Medallion Foods’ sale or public use affirmative defenses and counterclaims. Frito-Lay “contends that it is entitled to summary judgment because Defendants [Medallion Foods] failed to produce clear and convincing evidence that the chip sold by Frito-Lay in a test market had fluted edges, and all testing of a bowl-shaped chip with fluted edges occurred under confidentiality agreements.” The Court went through a thorough analysis and granted in part, and denied in part the motion.
On Friday March 1, 2013 Judge Lucy Koh handed down her decision regarding various motions that were filed on behalf of Apple Inc. (“Apple”) and Samsung Electronics Co. (“Samsung”) over the past few months post-trial. Specifically, Apple requested additur, supplemental damages, and prejudgment interest, while Samsung moved for a new trial on damages or remittitur. Judge Koh determined that the “Court has identified an impermissible legal theory on which the jury based its award, and cannot reasonably calculate the amount of excess while effectuating the intent of the jury.” The total amount stricken from the jury’s award was $450,514,650 –pending a new trial on damages. The jury awards stands for the remaining 14 products for a total of $598,908,892 in favor of Apple.
The Supreme Court tried to simplify the issue by concentrating on whether the state-law claim raised a substantial and disputed federal issue, which a federal forum would be able to entertain without disturbing the approved balance between federal and state jurisdictional responsibilities. The Supreme Court went on to note that “federal jurisdiction over a state law claim will lie if a federal issue is: (1) necessarily raised, (2) actually disputed, (3) substantial and (4) capable of resolution in federal court without disrupting the federal-state balance approved by Congress. Where all four of these requirement are met, we held, jurisdiction is proper because there is a ‘serious federal interest in claiming the advantages thought to be inherent in a federal forum.”
Semiconductor Energy Laboratory (“SEL”) appealed the decision of the District Court of California that dismissed with prejudice SEL’s complaint versus Yujiro Nagata (“Nagata”) due to a violation of Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) –lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The CAFC also declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over a number of state law claims. Ultimately, the CAFC affirmed the decision of the district court stating in part: “[b]ecause the district court did not err in holding that there is no federal cause of action based on assignor estoppel and did not abuse its discretion in declining supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims, we affirm.”