Federal Circuit Grants New Trial in Light of False Expert Testimony

federal-circuit-spring-b-335Rembrandt Vision Techs., L.P. v. Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. (Fed. Cir. Apr. 7, 2016) (Before Dyk, Moore, and Stoll, J.) (Opinion for the court, Stoll, J.)(False expert testimony raises a substantial question undermining the judgment of noninfringement and warrants a new trial). Click Here for a copy of the opinion.

The Federal Circuit ordered a new trial following revelations that expert testimony presented at trial was false.  Rembrandt sued Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. (“J&J”), in the Middle District of Florida alleging that J&J’s Acuvue Advance ® and Oasys® contact lenses infringed Rembrandt’s patent.  At trial, the parties disputed whether the accused lenses met “surface layer” and “soft” limitations of the asserted claims. Following trial, the jury returned a verdict of noninfringement.


J&J relied on expert testimony from Dr. Christopher Bielawski to support its position that the accused lenses did not meet the “surface layer” limitation.  After trial, Rembrandt received information suggesting that Dr. Bielawski testified falsely at trial.  Although the district court denied Rembrandt’s request for post-trial discovery, Rembrandt received documentation from Dr. Bielawski’s employer, the University of Texas, through an open records request and state court litigation.  The records revealed that Dr. Bielawski repeatedly testified that he personally conducted laboratory testing on J&J’s accused lenses when, in fact, the testing was conducted by Dr. Bielawski’s graduate students and various lab supervisors.  Further, evidence suggested that Dr. Bielawski overstated his qualifications and experience with the relevant testing methods, and in fact had no experience whatsoever.  There was also evidence that Dr. Bielawski withheld test results and data analysis that would have undermined his opinions and trial testimony.

Following a lengthy hearing on the issue, the district court denied Rembrandt’s motion for a new trial and dismissed the argument that documents withheld from Rembrandt prevented it from fully and fairly presenting its case.  On appeal, because the parties did not dispute that the testimony was false, the Federal Circuit considered only whether Rembrandt was indeed entitled to a new trial.  Noting that the Court “would not speculate about the profound effects knowledge of the withheld documents and falsified testimony of [J&J’s] primary witness would have had on the proceedings,” the Court ordered a new trial, confirming that the false testimony “raises a substantial question undermining the judgment of noninfringement.”

Also contributing to this summary were Lindsay Henner, Parker Hancock, and Puja Dave.



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