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Judge Thynge Grants Motion to Consolidate Cases Involving Same Parties, Same Accused Products and Related Patents; Denies Request for a Stay

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In Masimo Corp. v. Philips Elecs. North America Corp., C.A. No. 11-742-LPS-MPT, Judge Thynge granted in part and denied in part defendants’ motion to consolidate and stay a later filed patent infringement suit involving the same parties and related patents. Id. at 1. Plaintiff filed a first action against defendants for infringement of fourteen patents relating to pulse oximetry technology. Id. at 2. Defendants responded asserting counterclaims for infringement of ten patents of their own against plaintiff. Id. at 2. The Court later reduced the number of patents-in-suit in the first action from twenty-four to seven. Id. at 2. Discovery in the first action had progressed and claim construction had been completed. Id. at 3. Thereafter, plaintiff filed a second action against defendants alleging infringement of two additional patents. Id. at 3. In response, defendants moved to consolidate the two actions and stay litigation of the two additional patents asserted in the second action. Id. at 3. On their motion to consolidate, defendants argued that consolidation was appropriate because, among other things, the second action “involves the same family of patents, same technology and the same accused products” as the first action and that by consolidation judicial resources would be “conserved.” Id. at 4. Plaintiff countered that consolidation of the two actions would only cause “further delay” and likely prevent it from obtaining the injunctive relief it seeks. Id. at 6-7. The Court ruled in favor of consolidation. Id. at 9. In its analysis, the Court agreed with defendants, concluding that because the two cases involve the same parties, same patents, and likely the same witnesses and evidence, and because the issues were so “closely intertwined” judicial resources would indeed likely be conserved by consolidating the two cases. Id. at 9.
On the other hand, regarding defendants’ request that litigation of the patents at issue in the second action be stayed pending the outcome of litigation of the patents at issue in the first action, the Court determined that the competing interests did not favor granting a stay. Id. at 15. The Court noted that it was “uncertain whether resolution of the [patents at issue in the first action] would settle any issues relating to the [patents at issue in the second action].” Id. at 11. The Court also pointed out that “[r]esuming litigation after a protracted stay would also carries distinct problems associated with the passage of time, such as stale evidence, faded witness’ memories, and lost documents and information.” Id. at 14.


Masimo Corp. v. Philips Elecs. North America Corp., C.A. No. 11-742-LPS-MPT

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