Parallel Networks had several lawsuits pending against different defendants in different district courts. The pending litigations consisted of nine actions, pending in the Eastern District of Texas and the District of Delaware. Four defendants sought centralization of the litigation in the Eastern District of Texas. Three of the District of Delaware defendants supported the centralization in its entirety and seven of the Eastern District of Texas defendants did so as well. The patent holder, Parallel Networks, opposed centralization and alternatively suggested selection of the Northern District of Texas as the transferee forum.
As the Panel explained, Parallel opposes centralization primarily because there3 are effectively only two actions involved in this litigation (the Eastern District of Texas actions have been consolidated in a single action) and, given the disparity in the progress of the actions, voluntary cooperative efforts among counsel are preferable to formal centralization. We respectfully disagree. Though the number of actins and districts involved in this litigation is indeed low, the litigation involves over 30 defendants. The Eastern District of Texas actions have progressed somewhat further than the Delaware action, but additional pretrial rulings (including claims construction rulings on the disputed terms) will be necessary to resolve Parallel's claims against the over 20 defendants for whom summary judgment was denied. While we applaud and encourage any cooperative efforts undertaken by parties to this litigation, centralization under Section 1407 allows us to assign these actions to a single judge, who has already gained familiarity with the parties and the patent, who can ensure that pretrial proceedings are conducted in a streamlined manner leading to the just and expeditious resolution of all actions to the overall benefit of all parties and the courts. See In re Brimonidine Patent Litig. 507 F. Supp.2d 1381, 1382 (J.P.M.L. 2007)
The Panel found that based on the papers filed and the hearing session, "that" on the basis of the papers filed and hearing session held, we find that these nine actions involve common questions of fact, and the centralization will serve the convenience of the parties involve common questions of fact, and that centralization will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of the litigation. All actions involve factual questions surrounding the alleged infringement, validity and enforceability of Parallel's "111 patent. Centralization will eliminate duplicative discovery, prevent inconsistent pretrial ruling (particularly on claim construction issues), and conserve the resources of the parties, their4 counsel and the judiciary.
Finally, the Panel found that the Eastern District of Texas is the most appropriate transferee district: We are of the view that the Eastern District of Texas is the most appropriate transferee district for pretrial proceedings in this litigation. Parallel's office was based here when it began litigating the current actions (though, since October 2011, it is based in an adjacent district). All defendants in pending actions responding to the motion for centralization support selecting this district as the transferee district. Importantly, Judge Leonard E. Davis is unquestionably the jurist most familiar with the merits of this litigation and the involved patent by virtue of his presiding over a streamlined "mini-Markman" hearing that construed three claim terms that led to his granting summary judgment in favor of nearly 100 defendants. Judge Davis is experienced in multidistrict litigation, as well as patent litigation, and we are confident that he will steer this matter on a prudent course.
In re: Parallel Networks, LLC ('111) Patent Litigation, Case No. MDL No. 2355 (June 12, 2012)
The authors of www.PatentLawyerBlog.com are patent trial lawyers at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP. We represent inventors, patent owners and technology companies in patent licensing and litigation. Whether pursuing patent violations or defending infringement claims, we are aggressive and effective advocates for our clients. For more information contact Stan Gibson at 310.201.3548 or SGibson@jmbm.com.