It is not uncommon for parties to race to file competing patent suits in their preferred districts once negotiations break down and litigation appears necessary. In some cases, recognizing that federal courts generally give priority to cases which are the “first filed” and procedurally further along, a party may attempt to delay service of an opposing party’s complaint. That was the apparent strategy of Japan-based Godo Kaisha IP Bridge 1 (“IPB”) in its patent dispute with San Jose-based Xilinx, Inc. (“Xilinx”). But as IPB discovered, delay tactics do not always work. READ MORE
Order Denying Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss, X One, Inc. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., Case No. 16-CV-06050-LHK (Judge Lucy H. Koh)
Uber Technologies, the transportation network giant, recently lost a motion to dismiss a two-patent infringement suit when the Court found that Plaintiff X One, Inc.’s patent claims are directed to patentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101. The Court held that the individual claim elements are conventional, but as an ordered combination provide an inventive concept sufficient to defeat a motion to dismiss. READ MORE
Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Motion to Dismiss, Henry Schein, Inc. v. Cook, et al., 16-cv-03166-JST (Judge Jon Tigar)
One purpose of the California Uniform Trade Secrets Act (“CUTSA”) is to preempt and displace many common law causes of action that could arguably apply in a trade secrets case, such as conversion. Nevertheless, it is still common for plaintiffs in trade secrets cases to plead a great variety of causes of action. A recent decision from Judge Tigar helps clarify when such causes of action are preempted and when they can coexist with a cause of action for trade secret misappropriation. READ MORE
In a helpful ruling for defendants, Judge White held in a recent order that res judicata prevented a plaintiff from filing a complaint for alleged inducement of patent infringement after a prior suit for direct infringement was dismissed with prejudice. He held that the filing of the original complaint provided a colorable basis to allege the knowledge element of an inducement claim, and thus there was nothing to prevent the pursuit of an inducement claim in the original case. READ MORE
Patent litigants in the Northern District of California will have something new to argue over following the Court’s approval in January of Patent Local Rule amendments that impose damages-related disclosure requirements. The Court also tweaked a few other patent local rules. READ MORE
Albert Einstein once noted: “Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” That logic was recently applied in a patent infringement case brought by GeoVector Corporation against Samsung. GeoVector learned that the Courts of the Northern District will not accept the sufficiency of infringement contentions that the Court itself finds inscrutable and unintelligible merely because the defendant has supposedly “demonstrated an understanding” of the plaintiff’s theories. READ MORE
Order Granting In Part And Denying In Part Plaintiffs’ Motion For Default Judgment, Timothy Ferriss, et al. v. Alliance Publishing, Inc., et al., Case No. 15-cv-05675 (Judge Edward M. Chen)
Tim Ferriss is known for authoring The 4-Hour Workweek and other self-help books on the “4-Hour” theme. He may now become known as the “4-Hour Plaintiff” after he and a company he owns, Krisa Performance, obtained a default judgment against defendants alleged to have improperly used his name and likeness in connection with a fraudulent scheme.
In an effort to promote judicial efficiency, Courts often allow a plaintiff to supplement its complaint if doing so would settle the parties’ controversies in one action. This is the rationale Judge Alsup applied in Illumina, Inc. et al v. Qiagen N.V. et al, Case No. 16-02788 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 29, 2016) when allowing plaintiff Illumina to amend its complaint to add a newly issued patent that was granted after plaintiff filed its complaint. Judge Alsup listed several efficiency-related factors favoring supplementation: (1) the supplemental claims accuse the very same product already in the action; (2) the newly issued patent has narrower claims, so allowing them in this action would avoid duplicating some of the issues already in the case; (3) even though there are new issues associated with the supplemental claims, there is no evidence that these new issues would be so burdensome as to delay the current schedule. Thus, because of the significant commonalities between the two patents, the Court decided that it would serve the purpose of judicial efficiency to enable the parties to litigate both patents in the same case.
Order Granting Summary Judgment On Dropbox Laches Claims, Dropbox, Inc. v. Thru Inc., Case No. 15-cv-01741-EMC (Judge Edward M. Chen)
The proverb “[e]quity aids the vigilant, not the sleeping ones” aptly describes the rationale behind the defense of laches-i.e., the legal doctrine which states that a plaintiff who unjustifiably delays pursuing a claim may forfeit it. Intended to encourage the timely resolution of disputes and to avoid prejudice to defendants, laches can have dire consequences for plaintiffs who unreasonably delay bringing their claims. READ MORE
Plaintiffs in trademark cases may be tempted to file suit as early as possible to head off any potential consumer confusion. But as a recent order explains, plaintiffs need to keep in mind that the Lanham Act requires a “use in commerce” to maintain a complaint. Plaintiffs who fail to plead an adequate “use in commerce” could find themselves fighting (and losing) a motion to dismiss. READ MORE