Florida Court Stays Case Three Weeks before Trial

Scott Daniels | June 3, 2011

The other day a judge told me, essentially, that he did not care for reexaminations and that he would never stay an infringement case pending completion of a reexamination proceeding.  The judges of the Southern District of Florida take a different view.  On Tuesday, Judge Marcia Cooke stayed the case Plasticos Vandux de Colombia v. Robanda Int’l, pending completion of a reexamination of one of the three patents-in-suit, despite the fact that trial in the case was scheduled to start June 20th

Judge Cooke’s decision is notable in two respects.  The first was her analysis of the delay of the litigation caused by a stay, quoting the 2008 Roblor Marketing decision from the Southern District of Florida: “[r]ather than being a reason for denying a stay, the resulting delay in proceedings serves the interests of correctness and finality, by assuring that any decision by the PTO can be taken into account by the court prior to further proceedings even though it necessarily results in deferral of the final outcome of this case”  (emphasis added). 

Second, Judge Cooke granted the stay based on a reexamination rejection of the claims of one patent-in-suit; there are two other patents-in-suit, as well as false marking and unfair competition counts.  The Judge explained that the claims of the other two patents were quite similar to the rejected claims, implying that the claims of all three patents were likely to rise or fall together.  Regarding the other counts, she stated that a “court may stay a case in its entirety pending reexamination despite the existence of unrelated claims in the interest of judicial economy and efficient case management,” citing an opinion from earlier this year by Judge William Alsup of the Northern District of California. 

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