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Posts by: Jacob M. Heath

A Day Late And A Dollar Short – Court Grants Summary Judgment On Laches Defense

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

Wise People Are Diligent

Johnstech Int. Corp. v. JF Microtechnology SDN BHD, Case No. 14-cv-02864-JD (Judge James Donato)

Buddha said, “To be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent.” This is a lesson Judge James Donato bestowed on the parties in Johnstech Int. Corp. v. JF Microtechnology SDN BHD, when he denied, in part, JF Microtechnology SDN BHD’s (“JFM”) motion to amend its invalidity contentions after the close of fact discovery to correct a clerical error and to add a new prior art reference and invalidity theories. Judge Donato allowed the clerical correction but denied JFM’s remaining amendments as JFM “failed to manifest the required degree of diligence.” READ MORE

A BETTER WAY TO LITIGATE? – The December 1, 2015 Amendments To The Federal Rules Of Civil Procedure Aim For More Efficiency And Less Delay

Civil litigation can sometimes be less than civil or efficient.  Indeed, some parties have been found to engage in “abusive” discovery practices or dilatory tactics intended to prolong and increase the costs of litigation. This has not gone unnoticed by courts, parties, and commentators, including the Advisory Committee on Rules of Civil Procedure (the “Committee”). In August 2013, the Committee proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“the Rules”) aimed at curbing certain abusive practices, amongst other things. The amendments include changes to Rules 1, 4, 16, 26, 30, 31, 33, 34, 36, and 37, and would impact numerous aspects of litigation including service of process, discovery (including electronically stored information (“ESI”)), default judgments, and possibly pleadings requirements.  READ MORE

Producing 500,000 Pages of Documents and Source Code Found to be Good Cause For Leave to Amend Infringement Contentions

Order Granting Motion For Leave To Amend Infringement Contentions, Delphix Corp. v. Actifio, Inc., Case No: 13-CV-04613 BLF-HRL(Judge Howard R. Lloyd)

The NorCal IP Blog has reported on multiple decisions granting or denying leave to amend infringement contentions. See http://blogs.orrick.com/norcal-ip/?s=infringement+contentions. A constant theme throughout has been the Northern District’s strict adherence to the Patent Local Rules for guidance on allowing amendments. Magistrate Judge Howard R. Lloyd echoed that theme this week in Delphix Corp. v. Actifio, Inc., Case No. 13-cv-04613 BLF (HRL), when he granted defendant/counterclaim plaintiff Actifio, Inc.’s (“Actifio”) motion to amend its infringement contentions. Critical to his decision was plaintiff/counterclaim defendant Delphix Corp.’s (“Delphix”) production of source code and over 500,000 pages of new information about the accused product, not otherwise available to Actifio. READ MORE

Third Time’s A Charm? Court Denies Motion to Dismiss and Anti-SLAPP Motion

Order Denying Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss and Anti-SLAPP Motion to Strike, Sonus Networks, Inc. v. Inventegry, Inc., C-15-0322 EMC (Judge Edward Chen)

Patent licensing company Inventegry, Inc. recently suffered some setbacks when Judge Edward M. Chen denied its motion to dismiss and Anti-SLAPP motion to strike several claims that plaintiff Sonus brought as part of its declaratory judgment action. READ MORE

Uber Takes A Ride Back To State Court: Federal Court Dismisses Conversion Claim, Remands Trade Secret Misappropriation Case Back To State Court

Order on Motion to Remand, Kevin Halpern, et al., v. Uber Technologies, Inc., et al., 15-cv-02401-JSW (Judge Jeffrey White)

Uber has faced its share of challenges of late, from the established taxi community to cities considering bans on Uber’s ride-sharing service. Last week was more of the same, as Judge Jeffrey S. White handed Uber a loss in the Northern District in Halpern v. Uber Technologies, Inc., Case No. 15-cv-02401-JSW. Judge White remanded back to San Francisco Superior Court a trade secret misappropriation action brought by plaintiffs Kevin Halpern and Celluride Wireless READ MORE

March 2015 Recap

March 2015—like January and February—saw decisions on a variety of fronts from ND Cal judges.  ND Cal judges demonstrated their willingness to apply the Supreme Court’s decisions in Nautilus and Alice to invalidate patents on summary judgment.  Nautilus held claims invalid if they “failed to inform, with reasonable certainty, those skilled in the art….”  Judge Alsup applied that reasoning in Aquatic AV, Inc. v. Magnadyne Corp. et al., Case No. C 14-01931, where he found Aquatic’s asserted claims invalid, in part, because the its definition of “hermetically seals” lacked sufficient fixed meeting: “taking our patentee at its word that ‘hermetically seals’ has no fixed meaning.”  READ MORE

Inside Job – Judge Labson Freeman Applies the CFAA Restrictively

Koninklijke Phillips N.V., et. al. v. Elec-Tech Int’l Co., Ltd., et al.,, Case No. 14-cv-02737 (BLF) (March 20, 2015)

Plaintiff Koninklijke Phillips N.V. (Phillips) and its subsidiary Phillips Lumileds Lighting Company LLC sued Elec-Tech, a Chinese company, and a number of its subsidiaries and employees for the alleged theft of Phillips’ LED lighting technology.  The claim arose from the alleged theft of Phillips’ proprietary “epitaxy” technology and confidential business information by a former Phillips principal development engineer that Elec-Tech had hired, Dr. Gangyi Chen.  Phillips alleged that Dr. Chen had received up front compensation while he was still employed by Phillips and shortly before his departure to Elec-Tech. READ MORE

WHAT’S GOOD FOR THE GOOSE IS GOOD FOR THE GANDER – Parties Seeking To Depose Foreign-Based Witnesses In The U.S. Should Be Prepared To Have Their Own Witnesses Testify In The U.S.

Parties suing in the United States with foreign-based witnesses take heed, as you may find your foreign-based witnesses traveling to the United States for depositions.  On February 12, 2015, Magistrate Judge Paul Grewal issued an Order in Corning Optical Communications Wireless, Ltd. v. SOLiD, Inc., Case No. 5:14-cv-03750-PSG, in which he instructed the plaintiff, Corning Optical Communications Wireless, Ltd. (“Corning”), to produce its witnesses residing outside of the U.S. for depositions in the Northern District of California.  After weighing several factors, Judge Grewal concluded that having foreign-based witnesses deposed in the Northern District was the “most equitable solution.” READ MORE

A 2014 Recap

Most mark the beginning of a new year with a moment of reflection on the past year’s follies and lessons learned. In 2014, there were a fair number of lessons learned regarding pleading, discovery, and how to survive a motion to dismiss. To start off 2015, we look back on some of the decisions from the Northern District that were most popular amongst our readership, and the lessons they provide.

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