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Tabaian v. Intel Corporation

United States District Court, D. Oregon

March 29, 2019

FEREYDUN TABAIAN and AHMAD ASHRAFZADEH, Plaintiffs,
v.
INTEL CORPORATION, Defendant.

          Howard L. Close J. Andrew Love Kathleen S. Rose Patrick B. McAndrew Ronald L. Flack, WRIGHT CLOSE & BARGER, LLP, Jeffrey Stewart Love James E. Geringer John D. Vandenberg KLARQUIST SPARKMAN, LLP, Luke Motley, IV, LAW OFFICES OF LUKE MOTLEY, IV PC, Richard N. Laminack LAMINACK, PIRTLE & MARTINES, Attorneys for Plaintiffs

          Arthur W. Coviello WILMER CUTLER PICKERING HALE AND DORR LLP, Jordan L. Hirsch Michael J. Summersgill, Todd C. Zubler,, Anna Marie Joyce Renee E. Rothauge MARKOWITZ HERBOLD PC, Ryan J. McBrayer PERKINS COIE, LLP, Sarah J. Crooks, PERKINS COIE, LLP, Attorneys for Defendant

          OPINION & ORDER

          HERNÁNDEZ, DISTRICT JUDGE

         In this patent infringement case, Defendant Intel Corporation moves to compel Plaintiffs Fereydun Tabaian and Ahmad Ashrafzadeh to identify the infringement contentions they will pursue at trial. Plaintiffs move to amend their infringement contentions. The Court grants Defendant's motion and denies Plaintiffs' motion.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs bring this patent infringement action against Defendant. Compl., ECF 1. The patent at issue, U.S. Patent No. 7, 027, 944 is for “Programmable Calibration Circuit and Power Supply Current Sensing and Droop Loss Compensation” and was issued on April 11, 2006. Id. at ¶ 1. Plaintiffs own the patent which they assert discloses a circuit for using calibration for precise voltage regulation. Id. at ¶ 2. Plaintiffs allege that Defendant has infringed the ‘944 Patent by using it in Defendant's Fully Integrated Voltage Regulator technology. Id. at ¶¶ 4, 5. Plaintiffs contend that Defendant infringes 18 claims of the ‘944 Patent. Id. at ¶¶ 37-77. Plaintiffs bring claims for direct infringement of the ‘944 Patent under 35 U.S.C. § 271, 281-85. Id. at ¶¶ 78-83.

         Plaintiffs submitted their initial infringement contentions on August 14, 2018 and revised infringement contentions on November 16, 2018. The revised contentions are at issue in this motion.

         Plaintiffs identified thirteen infringement contentions which were presented in a Summary Infringement Chart. See Pls.' Resp. Ex. 1 (“Summary Infringement Chart”), ECF 103- 1. On February 6, 2019, Defendant filed the present motion to compel Plaintiffs to limit the infringement contentions to those they intend to pursue at trial. Def.'s Corr. Mot. Compel, ECF 101. Defendant asked the Court to require Plaintiffs to reduce their contentions from thirteen to three. Id. at 23. The parties fully briefed the motion and, on March 1, 2019, the Court scheduled a telephone conference to resolve the issue on March 20, 2019.

         At the end of the day on March 18, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a motion in which they asked the Court to replace their Summary Infringement Chart of thirteen infringement contentions with a new chart containing three infringement contentions. Pls.' Mot. Supplement Record, ECF 121. Plaintiffs represented to the Court that the amended contentions were substantially narrower than their November 2018 contentions. However, the day of the telephone conference, Defendant submitted a response to Plaintiffs' motion in which it argued that Plaintiffs' repackaged contentions actually consist of eleven contentions, all of which are different than the thirteen Plaintiffs presented in November of 2018. On March 20, 2019, the Court heard argument from the parties and took this matter under advisement. On March 22, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a Reply to its Motion to Supplement the Record, which it suggested the Court could construe as a Motion for Leave to Amend Plaintiffs' Infringement Contentions.

         STANDARDS

         The Court may take appropriate action to facilitate the “just, speedy, and inexpensive disposition” of a case. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 16(c)(2)(P). This authority allows a Court to limit the number of asserted claims or contentions in a patent case for the sake of judicial economy and management of a court's docket, Stamps.com Inc. v. Endicia, Inc., 437 Fed. App'x. 897, 902 (Fed. Cir. 2011), and to enforce procedures to “make the parties more efficient, to streamline the litigation process, and to articulate with specificity the claims and theory of a plaintiff's infringement claims, ” Silicon Laboratories Inc. v. Cresta Technology Corp., No. 5:14-CV-03227-PSG, 2015 WL 846679, at *1 (N.D. Cal. 2015). There is no precise number or type of infringement contentions or claims that a party is allowed to set forth; therefore, in determining the most appropriate limit, courts are primarily guided by the goal of “secur[ing] the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 1; see also Memory Integrity, LLC v. Intel Corp., No. 3:15-CV-00262-SI, 2015 WL 6659674, at *1 (D. Or. Oct. 30, 2015); Medtronic Minimed Inc. v. Animas Corp., 2013 WL 3322248, at *1 (C.D. Cal. Apr. 5, 2013).

“[T]he default presumption is that a party's [preliminary infringement contentions] shall be deemed to be that party's final contentions.” Townshend Intellectual Prop., L.L.C. v. Broadcom Corp., No. C06-05118 JFRS, 2007 WL 1994158, at *3 (N.D. Cal. July 5, 2007) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). The Northern District of California's Patent Local Rules (“PLR”), which the Court has adopted, provide for amendments to infringement contentions. PLR 3-6. Amendments require “an order of the Court upon timely showing of good cause.” Id. The Rule provides a non-exhaustive list of “examples of circumstances that may, absent undue prejudice to the non-moving party, supporting a finding of good cause[.]” Id. In contrast to the more liberal policy for amending pleadings, “the philosophy behind amending claim charts is decidedly conservative, and designed to prevent the ‘shifting sands' approach to claim construction.” LG Elecs. Inc. v. Q-Lity Computer Inc., 211 F.R.D. 360, 367 (N.D. Cal. 2002); see also Verinata Health, Inc. v. Ariosa Diagnostics, Inc., 236 F.Supp.3d 1110, 1112-13 (N.D. Cal. 2017).

         DISCUSSION

         The parties and the Court appear to agree that it is unrealistic for Plaintiffs to proceed to trial with thirteen infringement contentions at the level of detail and complexity set forth in Plaintiffs' November 2018 Summary Infringement Chart. Doing so would put an undue burden on Defendants and the Court during pretrial proceedings and would be unmanageable at trial. The issue is whether ...


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