Judge Pallmeyer denied plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration of the Court’s summary judgment decisions against plaintiff in this patent dispute involving stalk stompers — devices that attach to a tractor or combine to flatten cornstalks after they have been cut.

The Court found a handful of factual errors and that certain portions of the ruling required “more precise legal analysis.” The Court corrected those, but held that plaintiff did not identify any manifest errors of law or fact that mandated a different outcome to any of the Court’s decisions. The Court did, however make clear that to the extent it appeared to have granted plaintiff summary judgment as to the effective filing date of the plaintiff’s ‘963 patent, that ruling was improper to make the determination as a matter of law and the decision was, therefore, withdrawn.

Of particular note, the Court held as follows:

  • Defendants’ failure to disclose its effective filing date argument in its Local Patent Rule (“LPR”) contentions did not bar the argument. The argument regarding the filing date was not an affirmative invalidity argument that was required to be laid out in LPR contentions. Rather, it was a reply to plaintiff’s response to defendants’ invalidity contentions. Defendants acted properly and timely by laying out their effective filing date argument by letter after receiving plaintiff’s responses to defendants’ invalidity contentions.
  • Regarding the burden as to an effective filing date, patentholder has an initial burden to provide evidence of its filing date. After that the burden shifts to the challenger to provide clear and convincing evidence that the patent claims are not entitled to the earlier filing date.