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Quest Integrity USA, LLC v. A.Hak Industrial Services US, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

July 31, 2017

QUEST INTEGRITY USA, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
A.HAK INDUSTRIAL SERVICES US, LLC, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Richard A. Jones United States District Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant A.Hak Industrial Services US, LLC's (“A.Hak”) Motion for Summary Judgment Based on Collateral Estoppel (Dkt. # 226) and Motion to Compel (Dkt. # 215). Having considered the submissions of the parties, the relevant portions of the record, and the applicable law, the Court finds that oral argument is unnecessary. For the reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS A.Hak's Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. # 226) and DENIES as moot A.Hak's Motion to Compel (Dkt. # 215).

         II. BACKGROUND

         Quest owns U.S. Pat. No. 7, 542, 874 (the “‘874 Patent”), entitled “2D and 3D Display System and Method for Furnace tube Inspection.” Dkt. # 227-1 at 2-23 (Phillips Decl. Ex. A). As noted in the Court's previous order, Dkt. # 81, Quest provides inspection services for oil refinery “furnace tubes, ” which are serpentine tubes that wrap around a refinery furnace. Furnace tubes contain petroleum products heated to high temperatures during the refining process. Refineries must periodically clean furnace tubes, and inspect them after cleaning. Quest (like others in the industry) uses “pigs, ” which are devices that travel along the inside of furnace tubes, to inspect the tubes. The ‘874 Patent covers methods of displaying the data compiled from furnace pigs in a way that allows technicians to identify the location of defects or other problems in the furnace tubes.

         On December 15, 2014, Quest filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware against A.Hak and two other entities, Clean Harbors Industrial Services, Inc. (“Clean Harbors”) and Cokebusters USA, Inc. (“Cokebusters”) (collectively, the “Delaware Defendants”). Quest Integrity USA, LLC v. A.Hak Industrial Services US, LLC, et al., Nos. C14-1481-SLR, C14-1482-SLR, C14-1483-SLR, Dkt. # 1 (D. Del. Dec. 15, 2014). Quest alleged that these entities had infringed the ‘874 Patent. Shortly thereafter, Quest voluntarily dismissed its lawsuit against A.Hak. Id., No. C14-1481-SLR, Dkt. # 24. According to Quest, it withdrew the action after learning that A.Hak planned to contest jurisdiction. Dkt. # 228 at 3. On December 29, 2014, Quest refiled its action against A.Hak in this Court. Dkt. # 1. In response to Quest's claim of patent infringement, A.Hak and the Delaware Defendants asserted that the ‘874 Patent is invalid.

         On June 28, 2016, the Honorable Sue L. Robinson of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware issued an order setting forth the court's findings on claim construction. See Quest Integrity USA, LLC v. Clean Harbors Indus. Servs., Inc., No. 14-1482-SLR, 2016 WL 3548145, at *1 (D. Del. June 28, 2016).

         The following year, Judge Robinson issued two decisions, which together invalidated claims 1, 11-13, 24-25, 27-28, 30, 33, 37, and 40 of the ‘874 Patent and granted summary judgment in the Delaware Defendants' favor. See Quest Integrity USA, LLC v. Clean Harbors Indus. Servs., Inc., __ F.Supp.3d __, No. C14-1482-SLR, C14-1483-SLR, 2017 WL 1155381 (D. Del. Mar. 28, 2017); Quest Integrity USA, LLC v. Clean Harbors Indus. Servs., Inc., No. C14-1482-SLR, C14-1483-SLR, 2017 WL 1365227, at *1 (D. Del. Apr. 7, 2017). Judge Robinson invalidated the claims under the doctrine of anticipation.[1] As set forth in her March 28 order, Judge Robinson found that Quest had engaged in two commercial transactions with Orion Norco Refining (“Norco”) that anticipated the patent claims such that the invention asserted by Quest is not novel. Quest Integrity USA, LLC, 2017 WL 1155381 at *7-9.

         Now, A.Hak moves for summary judgment on the grounds that Quest's action in this Court is collaterally estopped by Judge Robinson's findings of invalidity. Dkt. # 226. Quest opposes the motion. Dkt. # 228.

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         Summary judgment is appropriate if there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). On an issue where the nonmoving party will bear the burden of proof at trial, the moving party can prevail by pointing out to the district court that there is an absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's case. Id. at 325. If the moving party meets the initial burden, the opposing party must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue of fact for trial in order to defeat the motion. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). The court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., 530 U.S. 133, 150-51 (2000).

         IV. DISCUSSION

         A. Judicial Notice

         As an initial matter, the Court takes judicial notice of the decisions issued by Judge Robinson in the District of Delaware. Under Federal Rule of Evidence 201, the Court make take judicial notice of any fact “not subject to reasonable dispute because it . . . can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned.” Fed.R.Evid. 201(b)(2). Courts “may take notice of proceedings in other courts, both within and without the federal judicial system, if those proceedings have a direct relation to matters at issue.” Bias v. Moynihan,508 F.3d 1212, 1215 (9th Cir. 2007) (quoting Bennett v. Medtronic, Inc.,285 F.3d 801, 803 n. ...


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