Monday, April 21, 2014

Targeting Declaratory Judgment Plaintiff’s Customers Creates Substantial Controversy

The court denied defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's declaratory relief action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. "A real and substantial controversy existed when [plaintiff] filed suit. Defendants had sued a number of [plaintiff's] customers, based in part on their use of the Android platform developed by [plaintiff]. Defendants did not, however, name [plaintiff] as a defendant. This tactic of targeting the customers instead of the manufacturer 'infects the competitive environment of the business community with uncertainty and insecurity.' In response to the uncertainty caused by Defendants’ actions, [plaintiff] filed this declaratory judgment action to 'clear the air of infringement charges.'. . . [A]lthough Defendants later amended one of the [customer] actions to implicate [plaintiff] directly, they accused [plaintiff] of infringing only three of the seven of the patents at issue here. . . . Because the patent owners failed to 'grasp the nettle and sue,' [plaintiff] was justified in bringing the present action."

Google Inc. v. Rockstar Consortium US LP et al, 4-13-cv-05933 (CAND April 17, 2014, Order) (Wilken, J.)

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