Automated Layout Technologies, LLC v. Precision Steel Systems, LLC et al
ORDER - that the plaintiff's objection (filing 62 ) is overruled. Ordered by Chief Judge John M. Gerrard. (LKO)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEBRASKA
PRECISION STEEL SYSTEMS and
This matter is before the Court on the plaintiff's objection (filing 62) to
the Magistrate Judge's order (filing 61) granting the defendants' motion to stay
(filing 40) and staying this intellectual property dispute pending the U.S.
Patent and Trademark Office's ex parte reexamination of the patent that the
plaintiff claims the defendant is infringing. The Court may reconsider the
Magistrate Judge's ruling on nondispositive pretrial matters only where it has
been shown that the ruling is clearly erroneous or contrary to law. See 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A); Ferguson v. United States, 484 F.3d 1068, 1076 (8th Cir.
2007). Because the Magistrate Judge's ruling here was neither, the Court will
overrule the defendant's objection.
The plaintiff first argues that the Magistrate Judge improperly shifted
the burden of proof to it to oppose the stay. Filing 62 at 9-11. But the Court is
unpersuaded by the plaintiff's construction of the Magistrate Judge's order.
The plaintiff asserts that the burden-shifting is "evident" because the
Magistrate Judge said little about whether the defendants met their burden of
demonstrating the propriety of a stay, and instead discussed all the plaintiff's
arguments in detail. See filing 62 at 10. It's hard for the Court to see how it's a
bad thing that the Magistrate Judge discussed all of the plaintiff's arguments
in detail.1 And contrary to the plaintiff's suggestion, the Magistrate Judge's
order carefully explained the advantages to be found in staying the case. See
filing 61 at 7-8.
The plaintiff also argues that the Magistrate Judge committed clear
error in opining that the parties' patent dispute "will be significantly, if not
conclusively, impacted by the reexamination proceedings." Filing 62 at 11
(quoting filing 61 at 9). The plaintiff points out that not all the allegedly
infringed claims of the patent are subject to reexamination, and that the
defendants could still argue invalidity to this Court even if the USPTO rejects
their arguments on ex parte reexamination. Filing 62 at 11-12.
To begin with, that assumes the plaintiff will prevail before the USPTO.
But fair enough—the plaintiff is entitled to show confidence in its patent. Even
then, the Magistrate Judge fully weighed the advantages and disadvantages
of a stay, even considering the possibility that some patent claims, or all of
them, would remain intact after review. See filing 61 at 9. The plaintiff's
argument fails to acknowledge the Magistrate Judge's reasoning.
The Court recognizes that reasonable people might disagree about
whether the benefits of staying this case outweigh the costs. But case
progression is squarely in the Magistrate Judge's lane, and the Magistrate
Judge carefully considered all the appropriate factors in deciding that this
case, under these circumstances, should be stayed. The Magistrate Judge's
order was neither clearly erroneous nor contrary to law. Accordingly,
As a matter of judicial opinion-writing, it's not at all uncommon for a court to discuss the
losing party's arguments more thoroughly, in order to show that each argument was fully
and fairly considered before its proponent was ruled against.
IT IS ORDERED that the plaintiff's objection (filing 62) is
Dated this 7th day of June, 2021.
BY THE COURT:
John M. Gerrard
Chief United States District Judge
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