In Princeton Digital Image Corporation v. Konami Digital Entertainment Inc., et al., C.A. Nos. 12-1461 & 13-335-LPS-CJB (D. Del. Jan. 15, 2014), Magistrate Judge Christopher J. Burke granted defendants’ motions to stay where one defendant had filed a request for inter partes review (“IPR”) that had yet to be granted by the PTO.
Simplification of issues only weighed slightly in favor of a stay. While a high percentage of the claims were potentially at issue in the IPR, it was also too early in the case to tell how much overlap there would be in issues between the two proceedings. Id. at 5-6. Even if not all claims were cancelled, the IPR could still simplify some issues due to its estoppel effect, although that simplification would only apply to the defendant that filed the IPR petition. Id. at 4-5.
The stage of the litigation “on balance more strongly favor[ed] the moving parties,” id. at 9, where i) discovery was “in its nascent stages,” id. at 9, and ii) substantive proceedings already held (i.e., early Markman, a hearing on a motion to dismiss, and a discovery dispute) actually “served to emphasize how the cases are not close to resolution at all.” Id. at 8 n.6.
As to the potential prejudice to the plaintiff, the Court found that the timing of the motions to stay did not suggest an attempt to gain an inappropriate tactical advantage. Id. at 12. Among other things, the Court was not persuaded by plaintiff’s arguments that, out of “gamesmanship,” the defendant who filed the IPR had concealed its intention to file the IPR when it requested early Markman and a stay of discovery deadlines. Id. at 11. Therefore this sub-factor weighed in favor of a stay. However, while IPR proceedings “promise to be a more expeditious process” than inter partes reexamination proceedings, because the PTO had not yet determined whether to grant review, the early status of the IPR proceeding weighed against granting a stay. Id. at 12. As plaintiff was a non-practicing entity, the parties in this case were not direct competitors, and thus this final sub-factor within the prejudice analysis weighed in favor of a stay. Id. at 13. On balance, the prejudice factor weighed in favor of a stay. Id.
Because “[t]he potential for simplifying the issues, the current status of this litigation and the amount of undue prejudice associated with the stay requests all favor a stay, to at least some degree,” the Court granted the motions. Id. at 14.