Monday, December 2, 2013

Settlement Does Not Justify Vacating Interlocutory Claim Construction

The court denied the parties' stipulated motion to vacate the court's claim construction order following their settlement agreement. "[J]udicial decisions are not the property of private litigants, but are 'valuable to the legal community as a whole.' Even if the Claim Construction Order here is not final, other courts may consider it for its persuasive value, particularly when construing the terms of the patents at issue here. Moreover, the Court expended substantial resources in reaching its decisions in the Claim Construction Order. The value of these efforts would be diminished if the order were vacated, increasing the possibility that other courts would be called upon to expend their resources to construe these same terms in the future. . . . Though the parties’ individual settlement expectations may be frustrated by denying the motion, this factor does not weigh heavily in determining whether the request ought to be granted. . . . [P]ermitting parties to vacate interlocutory decisions may discourage earlier settlement and instead incentivize parties to take cases through the entire Markman process, or other non-dispositive rulings, in order to test their positions, knowing they could effectively 'erase' that decision through settlement later. Earlier settlements conserve more of the judiciary’s, and thus the public’s, resources."

Single Touch Interactive, Inc. v. Zoove Corporation, 4-12-cv-00831 (CAND November 26, 2013, Order) (Rogers, J.)

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