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Intellectual Ventures II LLC v. Sprint Spectrum, L.P.

United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Marshall Division

April 26, 2019

SPRINT SPECTRUM, L.P., ET AL. Defendants. T-MOBILE USA, INC., ET AL., Defendants,



         In this patent case, Defendants move to exclude expert opinions of Walter Bratic, Plaintiff's damages expert (Dkt. No. 298).[1] Bratic opines that Plaintiff is entitled to reasonable royalty damages up to the expected date of trial for the alleged infringement of Plaintiff's U.S. Patent Nos. 8, 682, 357; 8, 897, 828; 9, 320, 018; 9, 532, 330; 9, 681, 466; and 8, 953, 641. (Dkt. No. 298-2); (Dkt. No. 298-3). Defendants contend that Bratic's damages opinions are unreliable and not of assistance to the trier of fact, and thus should be excluded under Federal Rule of Evidence 702 and the Supreme Court's decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm., Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993). (Dkt. No. 298). Having considered the parties' briefings, the parties' arguments raised at the April 23, 2019 pretrial hearing, and the relevant authorities, the Court rules as follows.


         The admissibility of expert testimony is governed by Federal Rule of Evidence 702, which provides:

         A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if:

(a) the expert's scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue;
(b) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;
(c) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and
(d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of the case.

Fed. R. Evid. 702. Thus, the first inquiry under Rule 702 is determining whether the proffered witness is actually ‘qualified to testify by virtue of his “knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education. A district court should refuse to allow an expert witness to testify if it finds that the witness is not qualified to testify in a particular field or on a given subject.' St. Martin v. Mobil Expl. & Producing U.S. Inc., 224 F.3d 402, 412 (5th Cir. 2000) (quoting Fed.R.Evid. 702).

         Under Rule 702 and Daubert, ‘“a district court has broad discretion to determine whether a body of evidence relied upon by an expert is sufficient to support that expert's opinion.”' Johnson v. Arkema, 685 F.3d 452, 458-59 (5th Cir. 2012) (quoting Knight v. Kirby Inland Marine Inc., 482 F.3d 347, 354 (5th Cir. 2007)). The court must act as a gatekeeper, ensuring that admitted evidence is reliable and relevant. Curtis v. M&S Petroleum, Inc., 174 F.3d 661, 668 (5th Cir. 1999) (citing Daubert, 509 U.S. at 592-93, 597, 113 S.Ct. at 2796, 2799). Accordingly, the Court's gatekeeping function involves a two-part inquiry into reliability and relevance. In re Pool Prod. Distribution Mkt. Antitrust Litig., 166 F.Supp.3d 654, 661 (E.D. La.), appeal dismissed (5th Cir. Oct. 27, 2016).

         As to the reliability inquiry, the proponent of the expert's opinion testimony need not prove that the expert's testimony is correct - the proponent need only prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the testimony is reliable. Johnson, 685 F.3d at 459 (emphasis added); see also i4i Ltd. v. Microsoft Corp., 598 F.3d 831, 854 (Fed. Cir. 2010) aff'd, 564 U.S. 91, 131 S.Ct. 2238, 180 L.Ed.2d 131 (2011) (“Daubert and Rule 702 are safeguards against unreliable or irrelevant opinions, not guarantees of correctness.”). The expert opinion must be grounded in the methods and procedures of science - the opinion must go beyond unsupported speculation or subjective belief. Daubert, 509 U.S. at 590, 113 S.Ct. 2786. The court's “focus, of course, must be solely on principles and methodology, not on the conclusions that they generate.” Id. at 595, 113 S.Ct. 2786 (emphasis added).

         In determining if expert testimony is reliable, courts consider the following flexible, non-exhaustive list of factors:

(1) whether the theory or technique has been tested;
(2) whether the theory or technique has been subjected to peer review and publication;
(3) the known or potential rate of error of the method used and the existence and maintenance of standards controlling the technique's operation; and
(4) whether the theory or method has been generally accepted by the scientific community.

Johnson, 685 F.3d at 459 (citing Curtis, 174 F.3d at 668-69 (citing Daubert, 509 U.S. at 593-94, 1113 S.Ct. 2786)). ...

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