We previously reported on the early impact of the Supreme Court’s decision in TC Heartland based on the first few weeks of new filings. (For a summary of the TC Heartland opinion and its implications, click here.) It has now been one month, and based on the filing data for the month since TC Heartland as well as historical data since the beginning of 2016, we now have a better sense of how things have changed and how things may look in the future. Using data obtained from Docket Navigator, we compared filings in the month since TC Heartland came down on May 22 with filings earlier this year and also for all of 2016. READ MORE
It’s been just over two weeks since the Supreme Court decision in TC Heartland. (For a summary of the opinion and its implications, click here.) As plaintiffs and the courts now struggle to deal with venue in patent cases (and patent litigators brush up on venue law), we looked at recent filings to see what effect the decision had on where patent complaints are being filed. Using data obtained from Docket Navigator, we compared filings in the sixteen days since TC Heartland came down on May 22 with filings earlier this year between March 1-May 21. READ MORE
In August 2014, we saw perhaps the first ND Cal decision awarding attorney’s fees under the Supreme Court’s Octane Fitness decision. Judge Illston based her exceptional case finding on the plaintiff’s lack of adequate pre-filing investigation and unreasonable litigation tactics. (Also interesting was her finding that plaintiff had waived attorney-client privilege by failing to adequately screen its document production.) Litigants were also reminded, however, that the recent Supreme Court decisions only help so much: finding that Akamai had been limited to the issue of indirect infringement, Judge Cousins barred a plaintiff from amending contentions to add a divided direct infringement theory.
Looking at threshold issues, Judge Chhabria transferred a case for insufficient ties to California while finding he had declaratory judgment jurisdiction when the patentee’s C&D letter identified accused features, even if it failed to name specific products. Meanwhile Judge Davila, consistent with prior practice, granted another stay pending a third-party IPR on the condition that defendants agreed to be bound by the same estoppel. Getting into merits issues, we saw a pair of decisions on expert reports, one by Judge Wilken applying Daubert and one by Judge Illston considering whether theories and evidence had been adequately disclosed during discovery. In addition, the Federal Circuit affirmed claim construction decisions by Judges Ware and Chen in Mformation Technologies v. RIM (also noted on Patently-O). And we’ll be getting more attention from the East Coast soon, as the Patent Office announced that its America Invents Act roadshow will be coming to Cupertino in October.
Motion to Transfer Venue Granted, Brady v. Von Drehle Corp., 14-cv-01732 (Judge Vince Chhabria)
You might wonder why an Ohio resident would file a patent infringement lawsuit in the Northern District of California against a North Carolina-based paper towel and tissue manufacturer with no facilities or operations in the Bay area. It appears that Judge Chhabria was perplexed when that very scenario recently presented itself in a case before him. The result was that Judge Chhabria issued a succinct order transferring the matter to the Western District of North Carolina.
This blog had some more variety in July 2014 compared to our normal ND Cal patent fare. In a change of venue (literally), we reported on an Eastern District of California opinion holding that delay led to waiver of an improper venue defense. Back home, we took a look at how a complaint can be self-defeating in an unfair competition and false advertising case and learned from a trade secret case that “willful and malicious” conduct, and attendant punitive damages, are available only against individuals, not corporations. An end-of-the-month order on the level of specificity required in patent infringement contentions was more familiar ground. If this all leaves you craving more discussion of patents, try this updated study on Federal Circuit review of claim construction.
Order Denying Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss or Transfer Venue, Wordtech Systems Inc. v. Integrated Network Solutions, Corp., Case No. 2:04-cv-1971 (Judge Troy Nunley)
As you know, we generally report on decisions issuing from our beloved Northern District of California. But this blog is committed to reporting on interesting cases from anywhere in the Northern California area. So today we’re reporting on a fun patent case from Sacramento, which is actually north of San Francisco (but curiously in the Eastern District of California judicial district). The order takes a look at whether there was proper venue, an issue that typically does not come up in patent disputes. In an order that should shock no one, the court held that an 8 year (!) delay in moving to dismiss constituted waiver. READ MORE
Motion to Stay Dismiss Granted in Part and Denied in Part, Motion to Transfer Venue Denied, Trend Micro Inc. v. RPost Holdings, Inc., et al., Case No. C 13-05227 (Judge William Orrick)
If you had any doubts about whether dodging service is a good idea, Judge Orrick’s recent order in the Trend Micro v. RPost litigation should put those doubts to rest. In an impressive act of chutzpah, Rpost moved to dismiss the complaint for improper service of process after one of its officers attempted to evade that very service. Judge Orrick was unimpressed and denied the motion. He further denied RPost’s motion to transfer venue to the Eastern District of Texas, where several other RPost lawsuits are pending. READ MORE
Motion to Transfer Venue from Delaware to the Northern District of California Granted, OpenTV, Inc. v. Netflix, Inc., Case No. C 12-1733 (Chief Judge Sleet)
“Made up my mind to make a new start, going to California with an aching in my heart. . . .” Led Zeppelin.
Robert Plant went to California to find a girl with love in her eyes and flowers in her hair. But if you’re a patent defendant in Delaware going to California to find a more favorable venue, you should take note of a recent order from the District of Delaware in OpenTV, Inc. v. Netflix, Inc. READ MORE