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Golden Rule Fasteners, Inc. v. The Neverleak Co. LP

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi

January 17, 2019

GOLDEN RULE FASTENERS INC., Plaintiffs.
v.
THE NEYERLEAK COMPANY, LP., Defendant.

          ORDER

          JANE M. VIRDEN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         These matters are before the Court on the motions of defendant, Neverleak Company, LP (“Neverleak”), to stay litigation [39] and of plaintiff, Golden Rule Fasteners, Inc. (“Golden Rule”), to compel claim terms, claim constructions, supplemental invalidity contentions, and to modify certain claim construction related dates [44]. For the reasons explained below, the motion to stay will be DENIED; the motion to compel will be GRANTED in part and DENIED in part; and the motion to modify deadlines will be GRANTED.

         This action for infringement of three patents (‘303, ‘475, and ‘002) was filed on December 12, 2017. At that time, plaintiff, Golden Rule was simultaneously seeking, via the of the United States Patent Office, to broaden the claim terms of ‘002. With knowledge of this fact, both parties to this action presented the Court, in April 2018, a proposed Case Management Order setting forth the dates by which to accomplish the steps necessary to have this case tried within three years of its filed date.

         Among the deadlines in the proposed Case Management Order were August 3, 2018 for simultaneous exchange of proposed claim terms, phrases, and clauses and August 24, 2018 for simultaneous exchange of preliminary (as opposed to proposed) claim terms, phrases, and clauses as well as for simultaneous exchange of extrinsic evidence. Discovery related to claim construction and briefing on that subject was to occur as follows:[1]

Joint Claim Construction and Prehearing Statement

September 14. 2018

Complete Claim Construction Discovery

October 12, 2018

Opening Claim Construction Brief (Plaintiff)

October 26. 2018

Responsive Claim Construction Brief (Defendant)

November 9. 2018

Reply Claim Construction Brief (Plaintiff)

November 16. 201S

Joint Claim Construction Chart

November 30, 201S

Claim Construction Hearing(if required by law or court request)

December 134.2018

Doc. # 24-1 at 1. The trial was set for August 10, 2020[2] following an abundance of additional scheduling deadlines unrelated to claim construction.

         On June 8, 2018, the Patent Office issued a final rejection of Golden Rule's proposed amendments to ‘002. On August 7, 2018, Golden Rule asked the Patent Office to continue reviewing its application to amend ‘002 claims. On August 17, 2018, the parties jointly moved to extend the claim construction deadlines as follows:

Event

Current Date

Proposed Date

Simultaneous Exchange of Preliminary Claim Constructions and Extrinsic Evidence

August 24, 2018

October 30, 2018

Joint Claim Construction and Prehearing Statement

September 14, 2018

November 14, 2018

Complete Claim Construction Discovery

October 12, 2018

December 19, 2018

opening Claim Construction Brief (Plaintiff)

October 26, 2018

January 9, 2019

Responsive Claim Construction Brief (Defendant)

November 9, 2018

January 23, 2019

Reply Claim Construction Brief (Plaintiff)

November 16, 2018

January 30, 2019

Joint Claim Construction Chart

November 30, 2018

February 13, 2019

Claim Construction Hearing (if required by law or court request)

December 13, 2O181

March 14, 2019

Doc. # 34.

         On November 13, 2018 the parties again jointly moved to extend the claim construction deadlines, but, this time, sought only to extend the joint claim construction and prehearing statement deadline:

Event

Current Date

Proposed Date

Joint Claim Construction and Preheating Statement

November 14, 2018

February 13.2019

Complete Claim Construction Discovers'

December 19, 201S

[NO CHANGE]

Opening Claim Construction Brief (Plaintiff)

January 9, 2019

[NO CHANGE]

Responsive Claim Construction Brief

January 23, 2019

[NO CHANGE]

Reply Claim Construction Brief (Plaintiff)

January 30, 2019

[NO CHANGE]

Joint Claim Constriction Chart (to be included with Joint Claim Construction and Prehearing Statement)

February 13, 2019

[NO CHANGE]

Claim Construction Hearing

March 14, 2019

[NO CHANGE]

Doc. # 37 at 1-2.

         On December 19, 2018, the Patent Office, having, at Golden Rule's request, continued its review, and, as the Court appreciates it, rejected all but two of Golden Rule's proposed amendments to'002. The Patent Office, apparently, suggested that the Office might agree in the future to narrow, rather than broaden, claims related to ‘002. The Office gave Golden Rule three months to reply.

         On December 27, 2018, [3] Golden Rule, belatedly, made its production of preliminary claim constructions and extrinsic evidence. On the same date, defendant Neverleak indicated it would not make its production of preliminary claim constructions and ...


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