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Fujitsu v. Tellabs: Fujitsu Appeal’s Decision on Motion to Compel and, After It Loses on Appeal, District Court Orders a Civil Penalty Which Doubles Each Day Documents Are Not Produced

In this patent infringement action, the district court granted a motion to compel filed by Tellabs against Fujitsu. Fujitsu then filed a petition for a writ of mandamus with the Federal Circuit to overturn the decision of the district court.

The Federal Circuit promptly denied the writ of mandamus as Fujitsu had to establish a “clear and indisputable” right to relief and that it “lack[ed] adequate alternative means to obtain the relief” that it sought. Cheney v. U.S. Dist. Court, 542 U.S. 367, 380-81 (2004) (internal citations omitted).

The Federal Circuit found that standard was not met. “The Supreme Court has held that issues concerning requests to compel documents can be raised on timely appeal to this court from a final district court decision. Mohawk Indus., Inc. v. Carpenter, 558 U.S. 100, 109 (2009) (‘postjudgment appeals generally suffice to protect the rights of litigants and ensure the vitality of the attorney-client privilege’). That holding applies to the circumstances of this case.”

The district court then stated that “[t]he United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has with appropriate dispatch today denied Fujitsu Limited’s and Fujitsu Network Communications, Inc.’s (collectively ‘Fujitsu Entities’) meritless petition for mandamus.

The district court then explained that “[t]he Fujitsu Entities are and have been in contempt of this court’s 8/19/2014 order [235] in this case since 9/16/2014 when they failed to turn over the subject documents as ordered.”

As a result, the district court ordered Fujitsu “to produce legible, unredacted, translated copies of the subject documents to Tellabs’ counsel . . . or a civil penalty of $4,000 will be assessed. That civil penalty will be doubled and compounded daily for each day after 4:00 p.m. today the Fujitsu Entities continue in contempt of this court’s 8/19/2014 order.”

Fujitsu Limited v. Tellabs, Inc., Case No. 12 C 3229 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 7, 2014)

The authors of 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