Judge Yeakel Issues a Claim Construction Order in Patent Dispute over Low-Power, Low-Cost Illuminated Keyboards

Katrinecz v. Motorola Mobility LLC, No. 1:12-CV-235-LY, slip op. (W.D. Tex. Jan. 6, 2014)(Yeakel, J.)

The District Court construed three claim terms (after the parties reached agreement on five others), siding with Motorola Mobility in concluding that the first term did not require construction beyond its plain and ordinary meaning, id. at 6-8, rejecting both sides’ proposed constructions of the second term, id. at 9-10, and adopting the inventors’ construction of the third term, id. at 10-12. The District Court then ordered the parties to meet and confer “in an attempt to settle this case” before a March 11, 2014 conference at which a schedule for the remainder of the case would be set, absent settlement. Slip op. at 14.

The case provides a reference point for patent litigators to assess their time-to-trial prospects in the Western District versus other venues. The case will have been on file two years at the time of the scheduling conference, meaning the time-to-trial will lag the median in Texas’ other districts; according to recent data, the Southern District median is 2.00 years, the Eastern District median is 2.19, and the Northern District is 2.42. See PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2013 Patent Litigation Study 22 (June 2013). Two favored venues—the Eastern District of Virginia and the Western District of Wisconsin—hover around one year; the national median is 2.35 years. Id. at 21.