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Abiomed, Inc. v. Maquet Cardiovascular LLC

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

August 24, 2018

ABIOMED, INC., Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant,
v.
MAQUET CARDIOVASCULAR LLC, Defendant/Third-Party Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant/ Counter-Claimant,
v.
ABIOMED EUROPE GMBH, Third-Party Defendant,
v.
ABIOMED R&D, INC., Third-Party Defendant/Counter-Claimant.

          ORDER ON ABIOMED'S MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY OF MAQUET'S REBUTTAL VALIDITY CONTENTIONS

          F. Dennis Saylor, IV United States District Judge.

         This is an action for patent infringement. Defendant Maquet Cardiovascular, LLC owns six patents directed to guidable intravascular blood pumps and related methods. Plaintiff Abiomed, Inc. (“Abiomed”) filed this action seeking declaratory judgment that it does not infringe those patents and that they are invalid.

         Abiomed has filed a motion to compel discovery of Maquet's rebuttal validity contentions. For the reasons described below, that motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

         I. Background

         Maquet served its infringement contentions on May 25, 2017, in which it asserted 98 claims against four of Abiomed's products. On September 8, 2017, Abiomed served its noninfringement and invalidity contentions as to all 98 of those claims, citing to 84 prior-art references.

         On November 29, 2017, pursuant to the Court's narrowing order, Maquet selected 35 claims to move forward with in this lawsuit.

         Thirty days after the Court issues its Markman order, Maquet will further limit its asserted claims to 18. Thirty days after Maquet limits its claims, Abiomed will narrow its list of primary prior-art references to 12.

         On February 21, 2017, and September 8, 2017, respectively, Abiomed served Maquet with the following interrogatories:

9. For each claim of the Patents-in-Suit that Maquet contends is valid under 35 U.S.C. § 112, on a claim-by-claim basis, state how a person of ordinary skill in the art at the time of the priority date would have found such claim to have sufficient written description and enabling disclosure, including identifying any support in the specification of the patent by column and line number or in the prior art.
16. If Maquet disagrees with any of the bases for invalidity set forth in in Abiomed's Invalidity Contentions, state each disagreement and the basis for that disagreement, including identifying any fact that supports Maquet's position, including any person with knowledge of that fact and each document that refers or relates to that fact, identifying the support in the specification of each Patent-in-Suit that supports any disagreement related to any 35 U.S.C. § 112 position stated in Abiomed's Invalidity Contentions, identifying the basis for any position that any cited prior art patent, publication, reference or system is not prior art under any statutory provision, and identifying any claim limitation that Maquet contends is absent from any prior art reference analyzed in Abiomed's Invalidity Charts.

(Logsdon Decl. Ex. 1 at 14; Ex. 2 at 2).

         Maquet objected to those interrogatories as overly broad, unduly burdensome, and premature, contending that it should not have to respond before the Abiomed has narrowed its primary prior-art references to 12. Abiomed filed the present motion to compel Maquet to respond within 30 days of the Court's order granting its motion.

         II. Standard of Review

         “An interrogatory may relate to any matter that may be inquired into under Rule 26(b). An interrogatory is not objectionable merely because it asks for an opinion or contention that relates to fact or the application of law to fact, but the court may order that the interrogatory need not be answered until the designated discovery ...


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