Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Intervening Rights is a Required Element of Prosecution Laches, Not Merely "One of Many Factors to Consider in the Totality of Circumstances"

In granting plaintiff's motion for summary judgment as to defendant's prosecution laches defense, the court rejected defendant's argument that "other courts have held that 'intervening adverse rights' is merely one of many factors to consider in the totality of circumstances determination." "[T]his Court concludes that [plaintiff] is correct and that the Supreme Court has addressed the issue of intervening rights. In both Crown Cork [& Seal Co. v. Ferdinand Gutmann Co., 304 U.S. 159, 167-68 (1938)] and General Talking Pictures [Corp. v. Western Electric Co., 304 U.S. 175, 183 (1938)], the Supreme Court held that prosecution laches would not apply absent intervening adverse rights. . . . Although the precedent is old, it is controlling. Therefore, this Court likewise finds that to prevail on a defense of prosecution laches, the defendant must prove both: 1) unreasonable and unexplained delay, and 2) intervening adverse rights."

District Judge R. Gary Klausner
Ronald A Katz Technology Licensing LP v. Cox Communications, Inc., 2-07-cv-02299
(CACD May 1, 2009, Order)

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