Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Case of the Day: Dyson, Inc. v. Sharkninja Operating LLC, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14435 (N.D.Ill. Feb. 2, 2017)


Plaintiff sued the defendant alleging patent violation regarding a handheld vacuum cleaner. Defendant, in turn, sought to examine the plaintiffs' employees in United Kingdom, Singapore and Denmark pursuant to the Hague Convention. The magistrate judge issued a letter rogatory allowing examination as to one of the three patents involved. Defendant appealed to the district judge.

Although the defendant submitted additional information indicating that the plaintiffs' employees are likely to have information regarding the other two patents, the district judge affirmed the magistrate judge's order, based on the "clearly erroneous standard"--if there are there are two permissible views of facts, choosing one or the other cannot be clearly erroneous.


This is one of the opinions that makes you wonder if there is a bigger backstory. Asking for a letter rogatory is a big step--especially considering that one can simply ask the district court to examine witnesses who are located abroad. Why bother going through the Hague Convention? And why are these witnesses so important that the party needed to file an interlocutory appeal, expending more lawyer time?

One final lesson: evidentiary ruling is difficult to win on appeal. It is important to get it right on the first shot, because "clearly erroneous" standard is a hard one to overcome.

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