ZOLL Medical Corporation v. Respironics Inc.
MEMORANDUM ORDER re 46 MOTION to Lift Stay Following Inter Partes Review filed by ZOLL Medical Corporation is GRANTED; the parties shall meet and confer and submit a joint proposed scheduling order by 7/22/15. Signed by Judge Leonard P. Stark on 7/8/15. (ntl)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE
ZOLL MEDICAL CORPORATION,
C.A. No. 12-1778-LPS
At Wilmington this 8th day of July, 2015:
Having reviewed the parties' briefing and other materials filed with respect to Plaintiff
Zoll Medical Corporation's ("Zoll") motion to lift stay following inter partes review (D.1. 46, 47,
49, 50), IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Zoll's motion (D.1. 46) is GRANTED, for the reasons
On December 16, 2013, the Court granted Defendant Respironics, Inc.'s
("Respironics") unopposed motion to stay this patent infringement action pending inter partes
review ("IPR") of the patent-in-suit by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ("PTO"), which
two weeks earlier the PTO had granted. Given the statutory deadlines for completion of an IPR,
Respironics assured the Court that the length of the stay would not exceed 18 months. (See D.I.
19 at 8) ("[A]t most, Respironics' motion seeks an eighteen month stay of this litigation, the time
period within which the entire inter partes review proceeding must be completed.") Based on
these realities and representations, Zoll withdrew its prior opposition to the requested stay (D.1.
41 ); and, based largely on the lack of opposition, the Court granted the stay (D.1. 42). 1
The IPR proceeding is now complete and the PTO has confirmed the patentability
of Zoll's patent claims. (See D.I. 46 at 1)2 Understandably, Zoll now wishes to proceed with the
litigation it filed more than 2 Yi years ago, on December 27, 2012. (D.1. 1) Oddly, however, and
in tension with its prior representations that it was only seeking a stay pending IPR, and that such
a stay would not exceed 18 months, Respironics opposes lifting the stay.
The proper exercise of the Court's discretion under these circumstances is to lift
the stay and proceed with the litigation, just as the parties (and the Court) envisioned at the time
the unopposed motion to stay was granted. The IPR proceeding is complete and the stay has
been in place nearly 19 months. Respironics has pointed to no new, unforeseeable events to
cause the Court to depart from the path that was set when the stay was imposed. As Zoll puts it,
"Having taken its shot in the USPTO and failed, Respironics should not be able to preclude Zoll
from pursuing its claims in this court for an indeterminate period of time." (D.1. 49 at 1)
Even ignoring this history, the Court would reach the same conclusion and lift the
stay, as a further stay is not warranted. The present circumstances involve a patent infringement
case that has essentially been stalled for 2 Yi years, despite the claims of the patent-in-suit having
been confirmed in IPR and despite the accused infringer being estopped from raising the
invalidity grounds it raised or reasonably could have raised in the IPR. See 35 U.S.C.
Had Respironics initially been seeking a stay that would extend to the period during
which any appeal from the IPR would be pending, it is likely Zoll would have continued to
oppose the motion, and the Court's calculus might very well have differed too.
Claim 1 was cancelled, while the remaining eight claims were confirmed. (See D.I. 49 at
§ 315( e)(2). The pendency of an appeal from the IPR, and the possibility that the Federal Circuit
may reverse the PTO (and thereby simplify this litigation by, presumably, making it disappear),3
is not, in and of itself, a sufficient basis to make the patentee here continue to wait to enforce
patent rights that it currently holds. Continuing the stay would unduly prejudice Zoll and unfairly
advantage Respironics, in part by keeping this case at its relatively early stage for perhaps up to
another year, while the appeal is briefed and decided.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the parties shall meet and confer and submit a
proposed scheduling order no later than July 22, 2015.
U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
Respironics suggests that "[ e]ven if the Board's decision is affirmed, the Court could
benefit from the Federal Circuit's analysis of the asserted claim terms and the prior art." (D.I. 47
at 4) Assuming there is the potential for simplification even ifthe PTO's decision is affirmed,
this Court will likely be able to reap the benefits of such simplification, as the Federal Circuit is
likely to rule before this case can reach trial. The parties should factor these concerns into their
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