Last Thursday, a Northern District of California court granted defendants Lenovo Group, Ltd., Lenovo, Inc., and Motorola Mobility, LLC’s motion to stay proceedings pending inter partes review by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) in a patent infringement suit lodged by Neodron, Ltd. In its 2019 complaint, Neodron accused the defendants of infringing seven of its patents relating to touchscreen technology.
Prior to the defendants’ request to stay the case, the PTO granted inter partes review to four of the seven patents-in-suit. Each investigation was at a different stage of resolution when Judge Susan Illston considered whether to grant the defendants’ motion to stay the proceedings.
Neodron opposed, arguing that the litigation was already too far along, that inter partes review would not simplify the case because it would resolve only some of the outstanding issues, and that a stay would cause it to suffer prejudice.
In considering the motion, Judge Illston noted that “courts have inherent power to manage their dockets and stay proceedings, including the authority to order a stay pending conclusion of a PTO reexamination.” The court held that the multi-factor analysis weighed in favor of granting the stay because it would both simplify the issues and would not disadvantage Neodron. The court also noted that no deadlines for discovery or trial had yet been set.
Judge Illston also explained that Neodron “is free to bring a motion to lift the stay based on subsequent developments in the relevant inter partes review proceedings.” Additionally, the court asked the parties to file a joint status report on the inter partes review and “relevant litigation taking place in other jurisdictions” by October 1.
The plaintiff is represented by Russ August & Kabat, and the defendants by Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner.