A Blog About Intellectual Property Litigation and the District of Delaware


Entries for tag: stay

In certain circumstances, a stay pending the resolution of an ITC Section 337 Investigation is automatic. But where the overlap in patents is not total, whether to stay proceedings on the non-overlapping patents is left to the discretion of the district court judge.

ITC
The USITC in Washington DC, Toytoy at the English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0

Judge Andrews recently exercised that discretion to deny a request to continue a stay for non-overlapping patents where one of twelve patents-in-suit was still pending at the ITC.

Initially, five of the twelve patents had been asserted at the ITC. Of those, three were involved in an appeal to the Federal Circuit, and just one was remanded to the ITC.

The defendant in Wirtgen America, Inc. v. Caterpillar, Inc., C.A. No. 17-770-RGA argued that all five overlapping patents were subject to a mandatory stay under 28 U.S.C. § 1659(a). ...

Judge Fallon today rejected a motion to stay in Minerva Surgical, Inc. v. Hologic, Inc., C.A. No. 18-217-JFB-SRF (D. Del.), where the defendants tried to rely on COVID-19 opinions as precedent to support a further stay of the August 2021 jury trial.

Not stopping
Jorgen Hendriksen, Unsplash

Defendants tried to argue that the current trial date is tentative and COVID-19 uncertainty supports a further stay:

Although discovery is complete, the trial date is merely tentative and “subject to courtroom availability and the priority of other trials previously scheduled ahead of it.” . . . Moreover, as the Court observed in American Axle, “the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic would render it imprudent to set a trial date at this time.” 2021 WL 616992, at *2; Brit. Telecomms. PLC v. IAC/InterActiveCorp, C.A. No. 18-366-WCB, 2020 WL 5517283, at *5 (D. Del. Sept. 11, 2020) (“[I]n light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems highly unlikely that the present schedule will hold. . . . And once trials resume, the district court will be faced with the challenge of dealing with the backlog of civil cases that has built up . . . .”); Order at 3, Pact XPP Schweiz AG v. Intel Corp., C.A. No. 19-1006-JDW, D.I. 277 (D. Del. Nov. 5, 2020) (Ex. 1) (“The Court is also mindful of challenges it and the Parties face due to Covid-19 and corresponding restrictions. If this case were to proceed on its current schedule, the trial would likely be subject to significant delays.”).

Magistrate Judge Fallon rejected this argument outright:

Pursuant to the court's April 5, 2021 Notice, the suspension of civil jury trials has expired ...

Push it to the limit! (guitars wailing)
Push it to the limit! (guitars wailing) Keagan Henman, Unsplash

Readers of the blog will recall that, back in January, we noted that the Court ordered a stay to continue through an appeal to the Federal Circuit. As it turned out, we hadn't seen anything yet, because just this week Judge Fallon issued an order extending a stay through an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Notably, the case, Hologic, Inc. et al. v. Minerva Surgical, Inc., C.A. No. 20-295-SRF (D. Del. Apr. 22, 2021), was otherwise quite advanced—with a jury trial scheduled for August. But this is the extremely uncommon situation where the Supreme Court just heard argument in a related action, where it will …

Hang in there baby
Hang in there baby The Fall of Icarus, John Doyle

We discussed last month how it has, in Judge Andrews' words, become fairly routine for the Court to grant stays following IPR institution. With the recent increase in granted stays, one can see how a litigant might be tempted to fly even closer to the sun, and extend a stay through an appeal to the Federal Circuit.

Judge Connolly gave those gallant dreamers a bit of hope on Tuesday when he granted just such a motion in DDR Holdings, LLC v. Priceline.com LLC, et al., C.A. No. 17-498-CFC, D.I. 101 (D. Del. Jan 19, 2021). In that case, the parties had stipulated to a stay pending resolution of an IPR. When the IPR concluded, some of the asserted claims had been upheld and others had been invalidated, and the plaintiff was appealing the invalidated claims to the Federal Circuit. Plaintiff wanted to move forward with the remaining claims against some of the defendants, while the defendants argued that the stay should continue.

Judge Connolly ...

Caution Tape
Hiroshi Kimura, Unsplash

I came across this case today, and I thought it was a good example of why, in Delaware, it can be dangerous to be seen as acting unreasonably, particularly when it comes to things like discovery disputes and case management.

Plaintiffs filed a first case in 2018, asserting infringement of a single patent. Earlier this year, it filed a second case against the same defendant for a newly-issued patent relating to the same subject matter.

Plaintiffs sought to consolidate the two cases because they involved similar facts:

[The cases involve] identical parties, identical accused acts of infringement, the same accused process, and related patents with identical inventors, materially identical specifications, and overlapping claim terms.

Defendants opposed …

Motions to stay pending IPR's have gone through several trends as the IPR landscape has shifted in the years since the AIA created the procedure. In the halcyon days of 2013-2014 when the PTAB was instituting 80+% of all IPR petitions, it was fairly common in Delaware to see stays granted pre-institution. See, e.g., Peschke Map Techs. v. JJ Gumberg Co., C.A. No. 12-1525-SLR (D. Del. Apr. 24, 2014); Princeton Digital Image Corp. v. Konami Digital Entertainment Inc. et al., C.A. No. 12-1461-LPS-CJB (D. Del. Jan. 15, 2014) (mem. order).

Stay Rates Decline in the late 2010's

In the years since, as institution rates declined, stays pending institution decisions have become all but …

Judge Bryon issued an interesting stay opinion last Friday.

The plaintiff had initially asserted six patents. Of those, four were dismissed under § 101, and the claims as to one of the remaining patents were severed and stayed pending IPR.

The case was set to go to trial on the last remaining patent on November 30, just over 11 weeks from the date of the order. But, last month, the PTO granted a request for ex parte reexamination of the sole asserted claim of that patent.

Shortly after that, Judge Bryson issued his opinion granting a motion to stay pending re-exam. A couple of interesting points:

  • What a turnaround! Defendant first indicated it intended to request a stay …

While pre-institution stays pending IPR are usually seen as disfavored in this District, they are occasionally granted. The circumstances must be right, however.

Judge Connolly recently ordered a stay in Allergan USA, Inc. v. Prollenium US Inc., C.A. No. 20-0104-CFC pending IPRs that had been filed—but not instituted—on all asserted claims.

He noted that a related action had already been stayed pending IPR, and that the defendants had agreed "to forgo their inequitable conduct counterclaims and defenses in both actions," and found good cause to stay. As a condition of the stay, he required that defendants dismiss their inequitable conduct defenses and counterclaims, and ordered that they would be "barred" from pursuing those defenses in both actions...