Federal Circuit Denies Motions to Stay Appeal Pending Outcome of Inter Partes Reexaminations
Aude Gerspacher | Bloomberg Law
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied appellants’ motion to stay the appeal in a patent infringement case pending the outcomes of inter partes reexamination proceedings of two patents because appellants had not shown that staying these proceedings for a lengthy period of time was warranted.
Inter Partes Reexaminations Filed After Jury Trial
In November 2007, SynQor, Inc. filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas against multiple defendants including Bel Fuse, Inc. and Murata Manufacturing Co., alleging infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 7,072,190 (the ’190 patent); 7,269,034 (the ’034 patent); 7,272,021 (the ’021 patent); 7,558,083 (the ’083 patent); and 7,564,702 (the ’702 patent). A jury found that Bel Fuse and Murata both infringed all five patents and awarded damages. See SynQor, Inc v. Artesyn Techs., Inc., No. 07-CV-00497, 2011 BL 252617 (E.D. Tex. Sept. 30, 2011). Bel Fuse and Murata both appealed the district court decision, which is currently pending at the Federal Circuit.
In December 2009, Murata filed a petition for inter partes reexamination of each of the ’190 and ’021 patents with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”). In early 2010, Murata filed a petition for inter partes reexamination for each of the ’034, ’083, and ’702 patents. Bel Fuse and Murata then each filed a motion to stay the appeal proceedings pending the outcome of the inter partes reexaminations for the ’021 and ’190 patents only. In these reexamination proceedings, the USPTO has rejected all claims and SynQor has appealed the decision to the USPTO Board of Appeals and Interferences (“BPAI”). These proceedings are expected to be completed in 10 to 14 months according to Murata.
Federal Circuit Denies Motions to Stay
Citing to the Federal Circuit decision in Standard Haves Prods., Inc. v. Gencor Indus., 996 F.2d 1236 (Fed. Cir. 1993) as precedent, Bel Fuse and Murata argued that the appeal proceedings should be stayed as it was in Standard. The Federal Circuit found that the reliance on Standard was unpersuasive because the facts of that case were not akin to the facts of the instant appeal. The court first noted that its power “to stay proceedings is incidental to its inherent power to control the disposition of the cases on its dockets. See Landis v North Am. Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254 (1936).” SynQor at 3. The court then explained that in Standard, the USPTO proceedings were complete and the BPAI decision was already on appeal, and therefore, the court had directed the Standard district court to stay its damages proceedings pending the appeal. The Federal Circuit, however, found that neither Bel Fuse nor Murata had shown that staying the appeal proceedings for such a lengthy period of time was not warranted and it denied both motions to stay.
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