Is there a fan club for Magistrate Judge Grewal yet? Recently seated on the bench in 2010 and with a pedigree of decided interest, the judge keeps it interesting:
This afternoon the court sat down to consider the various motions on the docket that are pending and in some cases submitted in this patent case. Coffee in hand, and eager to turn to the substantive and intellectually stimulating disputes regarding infringement, willfulness, and the like, the court was stopped dead in its tracks by the usual culprit in such crimes: various motions to file materials under seal.
Stating that parties all too often misunderstand what level of harm is “sufficient to keep the public from knowing what is happening in courts such as this one that it pays for,” the Court explains that “[w]hile the court cannot offer an all-encompassing definition of harm for this purpose, it can say what is not harm. Disclosing an expert’s testimony about his patent validity opinions is not harm. Disclosing an inventor’s testimony about what exactly it is he claimed in his patents is not harm. Disclosing what products a party had sold to the public is not harm. It is certainly not harm that other litigants in other cases involving the asserted patent might come to know certain positions a party is taking in this case.”
The Court makes an apparent misstep in its concluding paragraphs, confusing the plaintiff with defendant, but the motions to seal were Apple’s (Dkt. Nos. 342, 344, 347, and 349).
Apple is represented by DLA Piper and Greenberg Traurig. Case No. 5:11-CV-01079-PSG (N.D. Cal.).
Magistrate Judge Grewal of the Northern District of California has the kind of writing style that keeps reading opinions interesting. In Emblaze Ltd. v. Apple Inc., No. 5-11-cv-01079 (N.D. Cal.), Apple petitioned the court for a stay pending the Supreme Court’s resolution of Akamai Techs., Inc. v. Limelight Networks, Inc., 692 F.3d 1301 (Fed. Cir. 2012).
It has been observed that the U.S. Supreme Court’s relationship to patent law sometimes seems like that of a non-custodial parent who spends an occasional weekend with the kids1. . . . And so when the Supreme Court decides to consider an issue that is presently and fiercely contested before a trial court, it might seem obvious that the trial court should call a time-out by issuing a stay. . . . [T]he court concludes that a stay under the present circumstance would NOT be appropriate. . . . [O]f the 22 claims of the patent-in-suit asserted against [defendant], 10 are apparatus claims, which Akamai does not address. . . .
[I]f the Supreme Court is the non-custodial parent of patent law, the Federal Circuit must be viewed, and respected, as the custodial parent who endures the daily grind of keeping the law on the straight and narrow. While this court must of course follow any change imposed by the Supreme Court, a majority of this nation’s highest patent court have spoken on the issue of proof requirements for indirect infringement claims. It would be disrespectful of that custodial parent’s efforts to presume that a reversal is coming.
In further support of the court’s decision to deny the stay, Judge Grewal writes that, second, the case is getting old and older by the day and at some point a case must be tried, and
Link to opinion: Emblaze Ltd. v. Apple Inc., No. 5-11-cv-01079 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 24, 2014).
1 Quoting Rebecca S. Eisenberg, Commentary, The Supreme Court and the Federal Circuit: Visitation and Custody of Patent Law, 106 MICH. L. REV. FIRST IMPRESSIONS 28 (2007), (last visited Mar. 2 2014).