Magistrate Judge Leonard P. Stark: Reining In The Complexities of Multi-Venue Litigation

In his recent decision granting a motion to amend, Magistrate Judge Leonard P. Stark offered a new take on whether adding new patents following the close of the pleadings will unduly complicate a case. In the underlying litigation, the parties had filed competing complaints in both Delaware and Maine. The Delaware plaintiff sought to amend its complaint to seek a non-infringement declaratory judgment on several patents asserted against it in Maine.

The Delaware defendant unsuccessfully objected to the alleged added complexity:

“Fairchild also contends that adding two more patents to the eleven patents already at issue in the Delaware Action would unduly complicate this case. Yet Fairchild’s own proposal of simultaneously litigating the two cases five hundred miles apart, potentially requiring the services of two juries and at least two judges, as well as two rounds of discovery, two sets of claim construction briefs, two Markman hearings, two summary judgment motions, and the like, seems far more complicated.”

Even with thirteen patents at issue, the complexity argument remains a double-edged sword.

Infineon Technologies AG v. Fairchild Semiconductor Int’l Inc., C.A. No. 08-887-SLR-LPS (D. Del. Sept. 30, 2009) (Stark, M.J.).

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