Presiding over separate but related patent infringement suits against tech-industry giants can be neither straightforward nor efficient. The limits of judicial efficiency are further exacerbated when lawsuits involving the same patents are assigned to two or more judges, as each judge must separately construe the terms of the patents. Addressing this problem, Judges Young and Stearns of the District of Massachusetts devised a common sense plan: hold a single claim construction hearing for the same patents asserted in the lawsuits.
Drawing from his experience as a visiting judge in the Western District of Tennessee, where Judge McCalla had handled claim construction for lawsuits assigned to Judge Young involving the same patents, Judge Young first proposed a similar plan at a motion hearing in Zond v. Fujitsu. Following the hearing, and after conferring with Judge Stearns, Judge Young laid out the plan. In return for the parties’ consent to accept Judge Stearns’ claim construction order with full force and effect in the case before Judge Young, Fujitsu would be allowed to participate fully in Judge Stearns’ claim construction proceedings.
After proposing the above plan, Judges Young and Stearns stayed the separate patent infringement suits pending resolution of inter partes review of the patents by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The cases are: Zond, LLC v. Fujitsu Limited, et al., No. 13-11634-WGY; and Zond, LLC v. Intel Corporation, No. 13-11570-RGS.