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Judge Sleet grants motion to stay pending inter partes review

Chief Judge Gregory M. Sleet recently granted defendants’ motion to stay litigation pending inter partes review of U.S. Patent No. 8,212,094, entitled “Process for the Manufacture of Diesel Range Hydocarbons.” Neste Oil Oyj v. Dynamic Fuels, LLC, et al., C.A. No. 12-744-GMS (D. Del. July 2, 2013).

The Court concluded that the relevant factors governing the grant of a stay, “when taken together, favor granting the defendants’ motion.” Id. at 3. As to the “sub-factors” governing the undue prejudice factor, defendants’ “prompt filing” of its petition and its motion to stay favored granting a stay, but the early stage of the review proceedings increased the risk of prejudice. Id. at 4. The parties were competitors, but “there is some dispute as to the practical scope of the market in which they operate,” with plaintiff arguing that the parties were the only competitors in the market and defendants arguing that the market was broader. Id. at 5-6. The Court, “largely unpersuaded by [plaintiff’s] arguments regarding the practical size of the market,” concluded that the parties were “merely indirect competitors in the large, subsidy-driven market for biomass-based diesel.” Id. at 6 & n.3. Additionally, plaintiff had not sought a preliminary injunction. All of these sub-factors combined favored the grant of a stay because the risk of prejudice to the plaintiff was low. Id. at 7.

The Court also concluded that the potential for simplification of issues favored a stay, see id. at 7-9, and the status of the case “strongly” favored a stay as the case was “in its infancy.” Id. at 9.

Neste Oil Oyj v. Dynamic Fuels, LLC, et al., C.A. No. 12-744-GMS (D. Del. July 2, 2013)

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