XY, LLC v. Trans Ova Genetics, LC, 1-17-cv-00944 (COD January 11, 2018, Order) (Martinez, USDJ)
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Patent Claims Acquired After Filing Date of Earlier Lawsuit Subject to Claim Preclusion if Directed to the Same Product or Process
The court granted defendant's motion to dismiss all but three of plaintiff's patent infringement claims for claim preclusion, including claims for a patent that issued after the filing date of the parties' earlier lawsuit. "[I]t appears that if a party acquires a patent infringement cause of action during the course of litigation, the party need not attempt to add that cause of action to the ongoing litigation or risk claim preclusion—even if the new infringement claim arises from the same transactional facts that prompted the ongoing litigation. . . . [T]he Court is confident that the Federal Circuit did not intend to draw a non-rebuttable line on the date that a party files its lawsuit, particularly where a later lawsuit attacks the same product or process at issue in an earlier lawsuit -- as is the case here. . . . [A] hard-and-fast rule that the filing of the original complaint ends the availability of claim preclusion could lead to significant, costly, and potentially unmanageable mischief. . . . [T]he Court holds that after-acquired claims, at least when they address the same, or substantially the same, subject matter as previously filed claims and when directed at a previously accused product or process, may be subject to claim preclusion under the Restatement’s pragmatic approach endorsed by the Federal Circuit. . . . [U]nder the circumstances [plaintiff] had a duty to move to amend (as it had already moved to amend to add an after-acquired claim) given that it would be accusing the same [defendant] products and processes, and that the [unasserted patent] was a continuation of a patent already in suit."