United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
SIONYX, LLC, and PRESIDENT AND FELLOWS OF HARVARD COLLEGE, Plaintiffs,
HAMAMATSU PHOTONICS K.K., HAMAMATSU CORP., OCEAN OPTICS, INC., and DOES 1-10, Defendants.
ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR JUDGMENT AS A
MATTER OF LAW SAYLOR, J.
Dennis Saylor IV United States District Judge.
Hamamatsu Photonics K.K. and Hamamatsu Corporation have moved
post-trial for judgment in their favor as a matter of law. In
a patent case, the district court must analyze a motion for
judgment as a matter of law according to the law of the First
Circuit. See August Tech. Corp. v. Camtek, Ltd., 655
F.3d 1278, 1281 (Fed. Cir. 2011).
that seeks to overturn a jury verdict “faces an uphill
battle.” Monteagudo v. Asociacion de Empleados del
Estado Libre Asociado de P.R., 554 F.3d 164, 170 (1st
Cir. 2009). To grant judgment as a matter of law, the court
must determine that the “evidence points so strongly
and overwhelmingly in favor of the moving party that no
reasonable jury could have returned a verdict adverse to that
party.” Malone v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 610
F.3d 16, 20 (1st Cir. 2010). All evidence presented to the
jury, and all reasonable inferences drawn from that evidence,
must be viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict.
Osorio v. One World Techs., Inc., 659 F.3d
81, 84 (1st Cir. 2011). The jury's verdict should stand
unless the evidence, viewed in such a favorable light,
nonetheless “points unerringly to an opposite
conclusion.” Zimmerman v. Direct Fed. Credit
Union, 262 F.3d 70, 75 (1st Cir. 2001).
defendants seek to overturn the jury's finding that
plaintiffs' claims for breach of contract and unjust
enrichment were not barred by the statute of limitations.
Essentially, defendants contend that plaintiffs knew or
should have known that defendants had breached the
non-disclosure agreement when they failed to return
plaintiffs' confidential information in February 2008.
a plaintiff knew or should have known of an injury so as to
trigger the running of a statute of limitations is, with rare
exception, a jury issue.” Santiago Hodge v. Parke
Davis & Co., 909 F.2d 628, 633 (1st Cir. 1990);
Lawson v. Affirmative Equities Co., L.P., 341
F.Supp.2d 51, 68 (D. Mass. 2004). Defendants here have not
shown that this case qualifies as such a “rare
defendants contend that plaintiffs are not owed damages for
the breach of contract and unjust enrichment claims after the
non-disclosure agreement expired on January 11, 2015.
Defendants contend that “any actions taken by
[defendants] after January 11, 2015 that resulted in
disclosing [plaintiffs'] confidential information did not
violate the [non-disclosure agreement] and therefore cannot
sustain an action for breach of contract.” (Docket 772
at 17). Defendants therefore seek to reduce the award for
unjust enrichment to include only plaintiffs' profits
earned through 2014, which would lower the award from $580,
640 to $198, 517. Defendants do not, however, seek to reduce
the jury's award for breach of contract because the
“jury's verdict does not explain” those
defendants may not have “disclosed” confidential
information after the nondisclosure agreement ended in
January 2015, the jury's verdict can be reasonably
construed to incorporate a finding that defendants continued
to reap the benefit of their earlier breach by selling
products that it had designed using plaintiffs'
confidential information. Defendants have not presented a
compelling reason to overturn the verdict in that respect,
and the Court will not do so.
and finally, defendants contend that the Court should reverse
the jury's finding that HPK willfully infringed the
'467 patent. Essentially, defendants contend that because
plaintiffs presented evidence that defendants were monitoring
plaintiffs' intellectual property only between 2006 and
2009, and because plaintiffs did not file the '467 patent
application until 2010, defendants “simply could not
have known about the '467 Patent or its application
during the time it might be said to have been monitoring
[plaintiffs'] patents.” But, as defendants
acknowledge, the evidence established that defendants were
monitoring plaintiffs' related antecedent patents and
applications. The jury's verdict can be reasonably
construed to mean that this monitoring gave defendants
knowledge of the '467 patent and its teachings. The Court
will therefore not overturn the jury's finding that of
and for the foregoing reasons, defendants' motion for
judgment as a matter of law is DENIED.