United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
L. ROBART UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the court is Defendant HTC America, Inc.'s
(“HTC”) motion to consolidate five cases filed by
Plaintiff Uniloc 2017 LLC (“Uniloc”). (Mot. (Dkt.
# 22).) Uniloc opposes the motion (Resp. (Dkt. # 24)), and
HTC filed a reply (Reply (Dkt. # 25)). The court has
considered the motion, the parties' submissions
concerning the motion, the relevant portions of the record,
and the applicable law. Being fully advised, the court DENIES
HTC's motion to consolidate.
November 30, 2018, Uniloc filed five cases against HTC, each
alleging infringement of a different patent: (1) No.
C18-1727JLR, involving U.S. Patent No. 6, 993, 049
(“the '049 patent”); (2) No. C18-1728BJR,
involving U.S. Patent No. 6, 868, 079 (“the '079
patent”); (3) No. C18-1730BJR, involving U.S. Patent
No. 7, 020, 106 (“the '106 patent”); (4) No.
C18-1731JLR, involving U.S. Patent No. 7, 167, 487
(“the '487 patent”); and (5) No. C18-1732RSM,
involving U.S. Patent No. 6, 836, 654 (“the '654
patent”). HTC now moves to consolidate these cases
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 42(a), claiming
that the cases involve common questions of fact. (See
generally Mot.) In particular, HTC argues that
consolidation is appropriate because “the Cases involve
the same parties and the same counsel for each party, they
advance similar legal theories, and they all seek nearly
identical relief for a similar set of accused
products.” (Id. at 1.) Uniloc argues that
consolidation is improper and that the cases are not even
related. (See generally Resp.) Uniloc, however, does
not oppose sharing discovery across the five cases or having
the five cases heard in front of the same judge.
(Id. at 9.) The court now addresses the motion. //
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 42(a), “[i]f actions
before the court involve a common question of law or fact,
the court may . . . consolidate the actions.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 42(a)(2). If the actions have a common question
of law or fact, the court “weigh[s] the interests of
judicial economy against any delay or prejudice that might
result.” Veljanoski v. Juno Therapeutics,
Inc., No. C16-1069RSM, 2016 WL 9525238, at *1 (W.D.
Wash. Oct. 7, 2016); see also First Mercury Ins. Co. v.
SQI, Inc., No. C13-2110JLR, 2014 WL 496685, at *2 (W.D.
Wash. Feb. 6, 2014). The court's discretion under Rule
42(a) is broad. See Pierce v. Cty. of Orange, 526
F.3d 1190, 1203 (9th Cir. 2008). Similarly, the Western
District of Washington's Local Civil Rules provide that
cases are related when they “concern substantially the
same parties, property, transaction, or event” and
“it appears likely that there will be an unduly
burdensome duplication of labor and expense or the potential
for conflicting results if the cases are conducted before
different judges.” Local Rules W.D. Wash. LCR
court concludes that consolidation is improper. Although the
five cases feature an overlap of parties and accused products
that utilize the patents (see Mot. at 1-3),
consolidating the cases would not promote judicial economy.
The cases involve different patents, with mostly different
inventors (other than the '079 patent and the '106
patent, which have one overlapping inventor), different
standards, and different technologies. (See Resp. at
3-5.) Further, because all the cases involve different
patents, maintaining these cases as separate actions in front
of separate judges does not risk “an unduly burdensome
duplication of labor and expense or the potential for
conflicting results.” See Local Rules W.D.
Wash. LCR 3(g)(2). Therefore, the court concludes that these
actions are not related under the Local Rules such that they
should be heard before a single judge.
making this determination, the court notes that three
previous courts have declined to consolidate actions that
involve the patents at issue in the five cases. See
Uniloc USA, Inc. v. LG Elec. U.S.A. Inc., Nos.
18-cv-06737-JST, 18-cv-06739-JST, 18-cv-06740-JST, 2019 WL
690290, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 19, 2019); Uniloc USA, Inc.
v. Logitech, Inc., No. 18-CV-01304-LHK, 2018 WL 6340747,
at *2 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 5, 2018); (Resp. at 7-8 (citing No.
2:18-cv-00040 (JRG-RSP) (E.D. Tex.), Dkt. # 58).)
argues that this case is indistinguishable from Uniloc
USA, Inc. v. HTC America, Inc., No. C17-1558JLR, 2018 WL
2059565, at *2 (W.D. Wash. May 3, 2018), in which the court
consolidated a fourth case with three previously consolidated
cases. (See generally Reply.) All four cases
involved different patents. Uniloc, 2018 WL 2059565,
at *1. In that case, however, the parties had “agreed
that the first three cases were related” and the court
had previously consolidated them. Id. On those
facts, the court determined that the interests of judicial
economy weighed in favor of consolidating the fourth case
with the three previously consolidated cases. See
Id. at *2.
calculus is different here. Unlike in Uniloc USA, Inc. v.
HTC America, Inc., 2018 WL 2059565, the parties in this
case have not agreed that the actions are even related.
Moreover, the present motion does not ask the court to
consolidate one case with three previously consolidated cases
that the parties agreed were related; rather, it asks the
court to consolidate five cases for which consolidation and
relation is opposed. The court concludes that the present
case is more akin to the cases in the Northern District of
California and the Eastern District of Texas, which involved
the same patents at issue and decided that consolidation was
improper, than Uniloc USA, Inc. v. HTC America,
Inc., 2018 WL 2059565.
foregoing reasons, the court DENIES HTC's motion to