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District Court Denies Request for Contempt Where Defendant Continued to Provide Repairs and Replacement Parts to Enjoined Devices

Plaintiff Advanced Transit Dynamics, Inc. (“Plaintiff” or “ATD”) filed an ex parte application for a judgment of civil contempt against Defendant Ridge Corporation’s (“Defendant” or “Ridge”) for allegedly violating of the district court’s Modified Preliminary Injunction Order (“Order”). In its ex parte application, ATD asserted that Defendant’s repair and support of accused devices sold before the issuance of the Order constitute infringement and violate the Order.

As explained by the district court, before the effective date of the preliminary injunction, Ridge had sold hundreds of GreenTail devices. Ridge claimed that repairs and replacement parts are necessary to maintain the safe use of the devices. Ridge also asserted that it provides only unpatented parts and services and does not charge for them. On October 22, 2015, Ridge notified ATD that it interpreted the Order to permit Ridge to repair and support GreenTail devices sold before September 29, 2015. ATD disagreed with the interpretation and refused to consent to Ridge’s repair or support of the GreenTail devices.

The district court denied the request to hold Ridge in contempt for several reasons. First, there was no emergency. “ATD has not demonstrated that an emergency exists. Nor has it shown that it is not responsible for any claimed emergency. ATD was made aware as early as October 22, 2015 that Ridge interpreted the Order as allowing it to provide repairs and support for GreenTail devices sold before the preliminary injunction. Instead of moving for relief at that time, ATD waited under December 17, 2015, almost six weeks after it became aware of the issue. Accordingly, ATD has not shown either the presence of an emergency, or its own diligence in seeking the requested relief.”

Second, the district court found that ATD had not demonstrated prejudice. “ATD has not demonstrated that it will be irreparably prejudiced if the underlying motion is heard according to regular motion procedures. There is no ‘temporal urgency’ because no new devices are being sold. In addition, ATD has not established that the repair of already-sold devices would have any impact on ATD’s market share or pricing.”

Third, ATD did not present any evidence to show that notice to Ridge would improperly frustrate ATD’s ability to obtain relief. “Both sides have been aware of the disagreement regarding the scope of the preliminary injunction with regard to repairs. Providing Ridge notice would not affect the manufacture or sale of new GreenTails, as Ridge has already halted these activities. Further, the merits of the underlying issue with respect to Ridge’s repairs is already being addressed in Ridge’s second motion for modification or clarification of the preliminary injunction, which is set for hearing on February 1, 2016.”

Accordingly, the district court declined to hold Ridge in contempt.

Advanced Transit Dynamics, Inc. v. Ridge Corp., et al.,
Case No. CV 15-1877 BRO (AFMx) (C.D. Cal. Jan. 4, 2016)

The authors of are patent trial lawyers at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP. For more information about this case, contact Stan Gibson at 310.201.3548 or