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Philips v. Zoll Medical Corp.

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

November 8, 2016

KONINKLIJKE PHILIPS N.V. and PHILIPS ELECTRONICS NORTH AMERICA CORPORATION, Plaintiffs,
v.
ZOLL MEDICAL CORPORATION, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER

          Nathaniel M. Gorton, United States District Judge

         In this bifurcated patent infringement case defendant Zoll Medical Corporation ("Zoll") moves to postpone the trial on damages scheduled for July, 2017 because of the prolonged reexamination of the subject patents in the Patent and Trademark Office ("PTO"). Zoll also moves to set deadlines for plaintiffs Koninklijke Philips, N.V. and Philips Electronics North America Corporation (collectively, "Philips") to seek leave to file amended or new expert damage reports. For the reasons that follow, both motions will be denied.

         I. Background

         This patent case involves external defibrillators. In June, 2010, Phillips filed suit against Zoll for infringement of its waveform patents (the '454, '905, '212 and '978 patents), self-test patents (the '460 and '374 patents) and CPR instructions patent (the '785 patent). Zoll denied infringement and counterclaimed for infringement of its electrode patent (the '526 patent) and defibrillator patent (the '187 patent). This Court bifurcated the liability and damages phases of the case.

         In December, 2013, after a vigorously contested jury trial, the Court submitted the validity and infringement issues to the jury. With respect to Philips' patents, the jury did not address the validity of the '212 patent, which was not contested, but otherwise found that all of the contested claims in the '212, '454, '905 and '460 patents were valid and directly infringed by Zoll's products and that all of the disputed claims in Philips' '374 patent were valid and some were directly infringed.

         With respect to the Zoll patents, the jury found that the disputed claims of the '187 and '526 patent were valid, all of the claims of the '187 patent were directly infringed and most of the disputed claims of the '526 patent were directly infringed.

         This Court denied both parties' motions for judgment as a matter of law and both parties appealed.

         In January, 2015, the Court granted Zoll's motion to continue the damages trial pending the appeal even though the parties had already exchanged damages expert reports. In July, 2016, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, in part, reversed, in part, vacated, in part, and remanded the case for a new liability trial on the contested claims in Zoll's '526 electrode patent. This Court lifted the stay and scheduled the damages trial to commence on July 24, 2017.

         Early in 2015, Zoll requested the PTO to reexamine the validity of the claims based on the Philips' waveform '454, '905 and '212 patents. The PTO did so and issued final rejections of the claims with respect to the '454 and '212 patents. Philips has now appealed those rejections to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board and, in September, 2016, Zoll again moved to stay the damages trial pending the completion of the reexamination. Zoll also moved to set deadlines for Philips to seek leave to file any amended or new damages expert reports. This memorandum addresses the pending motions.

          II. Motion to Stay

         It is well established that

[c]ourts have inherent power to manage their dockets and stay proceedings including the authority to order a stay pending conclusion of a PTO reexamination.

Ethicon, Inc. v. Quigg, 849 F.2d 1422, 1426-27 (Fed. Cir. 1988) (citation omitted). While courts have the power to grant a stay if there is a pending reexamination, they are not required to do so. Viskase Corp. v. Am. Nat. Can Co., 261 F.3d 1316, 1328 (Fed. Cir. 2001). The decision to grant a stay lies within a court's discretion. Id. In evaluating whether a stay is appropriate, courts consider the following factors:

1) whether a stay would unduly prejudice or present a clear tactical disadvantage to the non-moving party; 2) whether a stay will simplify the issues [] and [the] trial of the case; and 3) whether discovery is ...

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