Judge Thynge Denies Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to File Motion for Partial Summary Judgment of Infringement Based on Proposed Preliminary Claim Construction at Preliminary Injunction Stage
In Neology, Inc. v. Federal Signal Corporation, et al., C.A. No. 11-672-LPS-MPT (D. Del), Magistrate Judge Thynge recently denied plaintiff’s motion for leave to file a motion for partial summary judgment of infringement based on a preliminary claim construction proposed in connection with plaintiff’s earlier motion for preliminary injunction. Id. at 1. In this case, plaintiff filed suit against defendants alleging infringement of six patents-in-suit. Id. at 1. Plaintiff then filed a motion for preliminary injunction. Judge Thynge subsequently issued a Report and Recommendation denying plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction, but agreeing, at least in part, with plaintiff’s proposed preliminary claim construction. Id. at 1. The Report and Recommendation was later adopted by Judge Stark. Id. at 1. And, based on that ruling and the proposed claim construction that was agreed to in part in connection with denial of the preliminary injunction, plaintiff moved for leave to file a motion for partial of infringement regarding two of the six patents-in-suit. Id. at 1-2. Plaintiff argued that “no additional evidence or argument merits reconsideration of construction of those claims [that were agreed to]” and stressed that allowing the partial summary judgment motion would “narrow the claims and issues . . . for further discovery and trial.” Id. at 2. The Court disagreed. Citing Federal Circuit authority, the Court noted that “[a]lthough [it] did adopt plaintiff’s proposed construction as to certain terms for the purpose of the preliminary injunction, ‘a conclusion of law such as claim construction is subject to change upon the development of the record after a district court’s decision on a motion for preliminary injunction.’” Id. at 4. The Court further noted that the “standard employed at the preliminary injunction stage is far less stringent than what a plaintiff must prove at trial” and that “as a result of the limited effect of claim construction during the preliminary injunction stage, [it] doubts the alleged time and resource savings benefits advanced by plaintiff.” Id. at 4-5.