Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Deep Fix, LLC v. Marine Well Containment Company LLC

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division

November 15, 2019

DEEP FIX, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
MARINE WELL CONTAINMENT COMPANY LLC, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

         This patent case is before the Court on the “Motion for Summary Judgment of Unenforceability Due to Inequitable Conduct” (“Motion”) [Doc. # 170] filed by Defendant Marine Well Containment Company LLC (“MWCC”). Plaintiff Deep Fix, LLC (“Deep Fix”) filed an Opposition [Doc. # 177], and MWCC filed a Reply [Doc. # 181]. Having reviewed the record and applied relevant legal authorities, the Court denies the Motion in favor of a bench trial on MWCC's equitable defense.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Charles Adams is the sole inventor of the cap valve covered by United States Patent No. 8, 833, 393 (“the '393 Patent”). Through a series of assignments, Deep Fix asserts sole ownership of all interest in the '393 Patent. Adams died on July 15, 2019, while this lawsuit was pending.

         MWCC is a consortium of oil and gas companies including ExxonMobil, British Petroleum (“BP”), and others. MWCC manufactures oil and gas well containment systems used in well blowout situations.

         On September 3, 2010, Adams filed a provisional patent application for his cap valve invention. See Complaint [Doc. # 1], ¶ 14. On September 2, 2011, Adams filed a non-provisional patent application and claimed priority based on the provisional patent application filed in 2010. See Id. The '393 Patent issued on September 16, 2014. See id.

         Deep Fix filed this patent infringement lawsuit on March 26, 2018, alleging that three well containment systems manufactured by MWCC infringe the claims of the '393 Patent. MWCC asserted the affirmative defense of inequitable conduct. See Fourth Amended Answer [Doc. # 60], pp. 24-61.

         Deep Fix has conceded that it has no viable infringement claim against MWCC in light of the Court's Memorandum and Order on Claim Construction [Doc. # 127]. Therefore, MWCC's equitable affirmative defense that inequitable conduct bars Deep Fix from enforcing the '393 Patent against MWCC is an issue to be tried to the Court without a jury. See Gardco Mfg., Inc. v. Herst Lighting Co., 1209');">820 F.2d 1209, 1213 (Fed. Cir. 1987); In re Ethicon, Inc., 64 F.3d 671, *1 (Fed. Cir. June 26, 1995).

         The Motion for Summary Judgment has been fully briefed and is now ripe for decision.

         II. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

         Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for the entry of summary judgment when there are no genuine issues of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Where the movant bears the burden of proof at trial on the issues at hand, as is the case here, it “bears the initial responsibility of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact with respect to those issues.” Transamerica Ins. Co. v. Avenell, 15');">66 F.3d 715, 718 (5th Cir. 1995); see also Brandon v. Sage Corp., 808 F.3d 266, 269-70 (5th Cir. 2015); Lincoln Gen. Ins. Co. v. Reyna, 1 F.3d 347');">401 F.3d 347, 349 (5th Cir. 2005).

         “When evaluating a motion for summary judgment, the court views the record evidence through the prism of the evidentiary standard of proof that would pertain at a trial on the merits.” SRAM Corp. v. AD-II Engineering, Inc., 465 F.3d 1351, 1357 (Fed. Cir. 2006). In this case, the defendant has the burden to prove the elements of an inequitable conduct defense by clear and convincing evidence. See Energy Heating, LLC v. Heat On-The-Fly, LLC, 1291');">889 F.3d 1291, 1299 (Fed. Cir. 2018).

         If an issue of credibility exists, a motion for summary judgment should be denied. See Balboa Ins. Co. v. United States, 1158');">775 F.2d 1158, 1163 (Fed. Cir. 1985) (citing United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654 (1962)). Stated differently, where there are specific facts that tend to discredit a key witness, this may create a genuine issue of material fact for trial. See Typeright Keyboard Corp. v. Microsoft Corp., 1151');">374 F.3d 1151, 1159 (Fed. Cir. 2004).

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. Jurisdiction to Decide ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.