Fernandez v. Microsoft Corporation

Filing 23

ORDER DENYING MOTION TO RELATE CASES C11-4491, C11-4974, C11-4973, C11-4968 and C11-4969. Signed by Judge William Alsup on 11/16/11. (dt, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/18/2011)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 8 9 DENNIS FERNANDEZ, 11 For the Northern District of California United States District Court 10 12 13 14 15 No. C 11-04491 WHA Plaintiff, v. ORDER DENYING MOTION TO RELATE CASES ADOBE SYSTEMS, INC., Defendant. / 16 Having considered the administrative motion to consider whether four separate 17 patent-infringement cases are related to the above-captioned case, this order finds that they are 18 not. While all these actions involve one or more patents owned by plaintiff Fernandez, they 19 concern five different defendants each with different accused products. 20 The infringement issues will vary from defendant to defendant because their products, 21 though similar, undoubtedly implement different functionalities and work in different ways. 22 Additionally, the damages issues, willfulness issues, time frames, accused conduct, and discovery 23 issues will obviously vary from defendant to defendant. 24 It is true that patent claims asserted in the instant action are also asserted against the other 25 defendants, in addition to other patent claims not asserted here. At most, this means that some 26 claim construction issues will overlap. While it would be nice to have an identical set of 27 elaborations on the asserted claims for each accused infringer, even that may not be practical, for 28 1 the differences in the accused products will provoke differences in which words and slants in the 2 claim language really matter. These differences will lead one defendant to focus entirely upon the 3 meaning of certain words or phrases in a claim and another defendant to focus entirely on 4 different words or phrases even though they are in the same claim. In other words, the 5 claim-construction work likely will not be the same for all defendants, even if they are facing trial 6 on the same claims. The claim-construction work must be adapted to the actual issues being 7 litigated over the varying accused acts. In short, relating the actions would not avoid duplication 8 of labor nor substantially reduce the risk of inconsistent results. Plaintiff seeks to relate actions against Microsoft Corporation and against Sony Computer 11 For the Northern District of California Moreover, the other actions involve other patents not asserted in the instant action. 10 United States District Court 9 Entertainment America LLC (Case Nos. 11-4974 and 11-4973, respectively) to the 12 above-captioned action. Each of these actions involves four additional patents and different 13 accused products. Plaintiff also seeks to relate an action against Cisco Systems, Inc. 14 (Case No. 11-4968) to the above-captioned action. The action against Cisco involves an 15 additional patent and a different accused product. Plaintiff also seeks to relate an action against 16 Blackboard, Inc. (Case No. 11-4969) to the above-captioned action. Although the action against 17 Blackboard asserts the same patent claims as the instant action, it involves different 18 accused products. 19 As to all four cases, the motion to relate is DENIED. Due to the multiplicity of varying 20 issues raised by the different accused products and, in most cases, different patents, this order 21 finds that the cases are not related within the meaning of our local rules. 22 23 IT IS SO ORDERED. 24 25 Dated: November 16, 2011. WILLIAM ALSUP UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 26 27 28 2

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