A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware


Entries for tag: Stay Pending IPR

Disappearing Zebra
Neil and Zulma Scott, Unsplash

Judge Burke addressed a situation yesterday in BT Americas, Inc. v. Palo Alto Networks, Inc., C.A. No. 22-01538-CJB (D. Del.) where a defendant moved to stay pending IPR, but the patent-in-suit wasn't actually part of the IPR.

You may be thinking—huh? How did that situation come up?

The plaintiff apparently brought suit on two patents, and the defendant moved for IPRs on both. The PTAB instituted on the first one, and declined to institute on the second. When the defendant notified plaintiff of their intent to request a stay, the plaintiff immediately dismissed the first patent with prejudice—leaving only the second patent, which was not the subject of any IPR.

The defendant nonetheless charged ahead with its motion to stay, arguing that it should get a stay anyway:

A stay of the suit pending resolution of PAN’s instituted IPR petition on the ’641 patent will streamline the issues in this case, even if the ’641 patent is dismissed. . . . Regarding the ’237 patent [which is not subject to an IPR], a stay is appropriate regardless of whether the ’641 patent is dismissed because there is substantial overlap between the two Asserted Patents. Both patents share an identical specification and the claims of the ’237 patent substantially overlap with the claims of the ’641 patent. . . . Indeed, during motion to dismiss briefing, the parties and the Court treated claims 14 and 18 of the ’237 patent as representative of all asserted claims of both patents. . . . Even BT’s infringement contentions are replete with internal cross-references, repeatedly relying on the “mapping” of representative ’237 patent claims to argue infringement of the ’641 patent. . . . The PTAB’s institution decision on the ’641 patent relies on the same evidence to demonstrate a reasonable likelihood of success as the PTAB’s decision on the ’237 patent for corresponding claim limitations.
. . .
Because of this significant overlap, the PTAB’s final written decision as to the ’641 patent could dramatically simplify the case or, at the very least, would be highly instructive as to the ’237 patent. The reasoning and written record from the PTAB on the instituted IPR will be relevant to at least claim construction and invalidity of both Asserted Patents. Accordingly, a stay will remove the possibility of onerous, redundant, and potentially inconsistent rulings, and narrow the issues in this case. . . . A stay will thus conserve judicial and party resources as to validity of the Asserted Patents.

Id., D.I. 101 at 1-2. The Court did not buy ...

In the last few years, its become increasingly easy to win a motion to stay pending IPR. Nowadays, if a good number of asserted claims are subject to the IPR, you can expect a good long stay.

Come on in, stay a while
Come on in, stay a while AI-Generated, displayed with permission

This naturally suggests a strategy for avoiding stays that I have been surprised not to see more of—splitting your suit into multiple different cases, each asserting just a few claims. This seems to be what occurred in ImmerVision, Inc. v. Apple Inc., C.A. No 21-1484-CJB (D. Del. Oct 17, 2023) (Oral Order).

In that case, Immervision filed two separate suits at around the same time (but not actually on the same day) asserting different claims of the same patent. The PTAB issued an IPR that covered all of the claims asserted in one of the cases, but none of those asserted in the other. Apple moved to stay both cases (which had been consolidated for pretrial purposes), and Immervision opposed, just as to the case not covered by the IPR.

Unfortunately for the Plaintiff, Judge Burke found that it would make little sense to split these consolidated cases apart and granted to the motion to stay as to both cases:

Additionally, absent a stay in this scenario, two rounds of summary judgment and Daubert briefing/hearings would need to be held (one in this action and one in the 1733 action) -- as opposed to one combined summary judgment/Daubert process. Plus, since the PTAB's Final Written Decision in the 990 patent IPR is due in late summer 2024 (prior to the October 2024 trial scheduled in this case), if the PTAB upheld the claims at issue in that IPR, then no doubt ...

I'm not sure if
I'm not sure if "Ddrops" stands for "dew drops." But this is a nice picture regardless. Aaron Burden, Unsplash

We've talked about how pre-institution stays can be tough (but not impossible) to achieve, and about how Judge Burke has sometimes responded to a pre-institution motion to stay by asking for a status report and abbreviated briefing after the institution decision:

Therefore, no later than five business days after the PTAB rules on whether it will institute IPR as to the last of the petitions at issue, the parties shall provide the Court with a status report of no more than two single-spaced pages, indicating the outcome of the petitions and whether Defendant wishes to renew its Motion. If Defendant does wish to renew the Motion then, the Court will set a further (truncated) briefing schedule.

eBuddy Technologies B.V. v. LinkedIn Corporation, C.A. No. 20-1501-RGA-CJB, D.I. 108 (D. Del. Mar. 4, 2022) (Burke, J.).

Last week, Judge Williams adopted a similar view, denying a pre-institution motion to stay but offering to revisit the issue after the institution decision—and to take the previous briefing into account:

ORAL ORDER: Having reviewed Defendant MOM Enterprises, LLC's ("MOM") Motion to Stay Pending Inter Partes Review ("IPR") . . . , IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Motion is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE to renew the request if the IPR is instituted. A court has discretionary authority to grant a motion to stay. . . . Because no institution decision has yet been issued, the Court will decline to stay the case until it hears from the PTAB. . . . By no later than five (5) business days after the PTAB issues its institution decision as to the IPR petition relating to the asserted patent, the parties shall file a joint letter updating the Court on the results of the PTAB's decision. If the PTAB grants the IPR petition, and if MOM then wishes to renew its Motion, MOM should include in the joint letter a statement that it intends to renew its Motion. The Court will then set a letter briefing schedule on the renewed Motion. When reviewing the renewed Motion, the Court will take into account the briefs already filed as to the instant Motion. ORDERED by Judge Gregory B. Williams on 8/25/2023.

Ddrops Company v. MOM Enterprises, LLC, C.A. No. 22-332-GBW, D.I. 108 (D. Del. Aug. 25, 2023). This mirrors Judge Burke's previous order, although Judge Williams' order doesn't state whether the later briefing will be truncated—that may depend on the circumstances.

Judge Williams' practice is useful to know because, obviously, it affects the calculus of whether it is worthwhile to bring a pre-institution stay motion at all.

Broken
CHUTTERSNAP, Unsplash

Ouch. That's something you never want to see.

We wrote last week about how Judge Andrews—somewhat surprisingly—declined to lift a stay after the PTAB left just 4 of 83 patents standing, and invalidated the rest.

After that decision, the parties filed a series of letters that clarified that the plaintiff had intended to proceed only on the four valid patents, not the rest, but wanted to check with the Court regarding how they should proceed:

[Plaintiff] Cytiva understood that the litigation would proceed only with regard to the four claims that the PTAB upheld as valid, and until JSR’s submission, was not aware that JSR had a contrary view. Cytiva had no intention, and has no intention, …

Analog Clock
None, Ocean Ng, Unsplash

On Friday, Judge Andrews addressed what happens when an IPR results in just 4 valid claims—and 79 invalid ones:

ORAL ORDER: I read the letters about lifting the stay. . . . The parties agreed to a stay through PTAB resolution of the IPRs. (D.I. 66 ). The PTAB resolution determined seventy-nine claims unpatentable and four patentable. Both sides have appealed. It does not make much sense to go forward with the overwhelming number of asserted claims likely invalid. I think it is probable that there will be a final decision from the Court of Appeals within a reasonable amount of time. That decision will, one way or another, greatly simplify this case. The …

There's a couple themes we hit pretty often here on IP/DE. I assume by now that our regular readers (IPDEs? IPDorks?) know that it's hard to redact a transcript, that its easy to get a stay, and that Wilmington chickens have to sleep indoors.

You try and get him outside
You try and get him outside AI-Generated, displayed with permission

Basic legal stuff.

As is often the case, these general principles can only be stretched so far. Such was the lesson of Monterey Res., LLC v. Nanya Tech. Corp., C.A. No. 19-2090-NIQ (D. Del. May 10, 2023) (Order), in which a motion to stay went just a bit too far.

Evident from the C.A. No., this case was pretty old, and had already been stayed once pending IPR's on 4 of the 6 patents-in-suit. A few of the IPRs succeeded but the case continued on the remaining patents this last January with some discovery taking place and Markman briefs being exchanged.

Pretty standard so far.

The twist is that the Defendant then requested EPRs for 2 of the 4 remaining patents and moved to stay the case again. This proved to be a bridge too far:

Here, this matter is in the middle stage of discovery, though the parties have also filed claim construction briefs. This matter, however, has been pending since November 4, 2019, and has already been stayed for more than 19 months to allow the IPR proceedings to play out. These circumstances do not favor a second stay.

Monterey Res., LLC v. Nanya Tech. Corp., C.A. No. 19-2090-NIQ (D. Del. May 10, 2023) (Order)

As a little aside, this order gave me a bit of nostalgia for my early days in Delaware. I used to see a great many orders where 80% of the text was in footnotes explaining the reasoning, but it seems to have fallen out of fashion in DE over the last couple years. I find that I miss it a bit.

We've had quite a few posts in recent months about the trend towards granting longer and longer stays in the district, so it was interesting to see a decision bucking that trend on Monday.

The Court stayed the proceedings in Speyside Medical, LLC v. Medtronic CoreValve LLC, C.A. No. 20-361 (D. Del. Oct. 14, 2022) (Oral Order) last year after the PTAB instituted an IPR on 3 of the 5 patents in suit. The final written decision issued last month, with about half of the asserted claims from those 3 patents invalidated, and the other half upheld. The parties joint status report hinted heavily that appeals could be expected from both sides

In the parties' status report, the plaintiff pressed to move forward with the case, agreeing not to pursue the currently invalidated claims. Defendant, unsurprisingly, wanted to continue the stay, and chastised the plaintiff for refusing to drop those claims with prejudice, and thus leaving the door open to their potential return at a less opportune time.

Judge Burke decided to get things moving, referring to the "typical practice of our Court"

The Court ORDERS that the stay is lifted and that the case will proceed forward
pending any appeal of the IPR decisions, in light of the fact that: (1) the original decision
to stay the case was itself a close call, (D.I. 155 ); (2) Plaintiff has (at least for now)
agreed not to pursue in this Court any of the claims of the '897 and '708 patents that the
PTAB has held unpatentable; (3) Defendants have had a fair shot in the PTAB to
invalidate the remaining asserted claims of the '118 and '897 patents and have not
prevailed; and (4) moving forward in these circumstances is in line with the typical
practice of our Court
, (D.I. 162 at 1-2 (citing cases)). ...

Deal with it kitty, you're going to be famous
Deal with it kitty, you're going to be famous Go to Bogdan Farca's profile Bogdan Farca, Unsplash

Reader, I feel like we know each other, so I'm going to level with you. We are going to write a post about absolutely everything Judge Williams does for the next month or so.

New standing order? POST.

First trial? POST.

Pets a cute cat? 2 POSTS.

If you stop clicking? We'll just start juicing the headlines (Judge Williams DESTROYS cat!). This is the world we all live in now.

On a totally unrelated note, Judge Williams issued an opinion today continuing the trend of longer and longer IPR stays. The parties in Personal Genomics Taiwan, Inc. v. Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc., No. 19-1810-GBW-MPT, had initially stipulated to a stay pending an IPR. That stay expired in February when the case was still assigned to Judge Stark. Two weeks later the defendant moved to stay pending appeal of the IPR (which had been only partially successful). Briefing closed right around the time the case was transferred ...

There go the patentee's chances to oppose a stay....
Saad Chaudhry, Unsplash

In an oral order today, Judge Fallon stayed an action where there was an IPR on just one of two asserted patents:

ORAL ORDER: Having reviewed Defendant's letter motion to stay the case pending issuance of the PTAB's final written decision in the IPR proceedings . . . IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that: (1) Defendant's motion to stay is GRANTED because Defendant has satisfied the three stay factors. See IOENGINE, LLC v. PayPal Holdings, Inc., C.A. No. 18-452-WCB et al., 2019 WL 3943058, at *2 (D. Del. Aug. 21, 2019). First, the stay will simplify the issues for trial because the PTAB's final written decision is likely to resolve prior art-based invalidity …