Chief Judge Stark Orders Bellwether Trial

August 30, 2017

Publication| Intellectual Property

In Intel Corporation v. Future Link Systems, LLC, C.A. No. 14-377-LPS (D. Del. July 31, 2017), Chief Judge Stark ordered a “bellwether” jury trial to determine liability and damages on three of the twelve asserted patents. The Court explained that this procedure would “have the virtue of giving the parties a near-term opportunity to obtain certainty . . . as to the value of a substantial subset of their disputes.” The decision was made in light of the breadth of the case—including a dozen patents—and the substantial difference in valuation by the parties, which the declaratory judgment defendant had valued at $10 billion in reasonable royalties. The Court chose the bellwether procedure over reverse bifurcation with damages tried first. The Court recognized that if the bellwether trial and a potential appeal did not lead to the resolution of the case, then the parties and the Court could be trying the case for “many, many years to come.”

Key Point: In large complex cases, the Court may be receptive to the parties’ suggestions as to how to efficiently proceed with the litigation, including bellwether trials.

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