The Judicial Panel On Multidistrict Litigation Consolidates Four Patent Cases In The Eastern District Of Texas
On August 3, 2022, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (“JPML”) ordered that four patent cases—two patent infringement actions in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and one declaratory judgment action each in the United States District Courts for the Southern District of New York and the Northern District of Texas—be consolidated in the Eastern District of Texas and that the Honorable J. Rodney Gilstrap shall preside over the multidistrict district litigation. In re Taasera Licensing, LLC, Pat. Litig., No. MDL 3042 (J.P.M.L.).
The patent infringement defendants in the Eastern District of Texas actions supported the motion. Plaintiff in the Southern District of New York declaratory judgement action opposed centralization and, alternatively, suggested the Southern District of New York as the transferee district. The patentholder, Taasera Licensing LCC (“Taasera”), opposed centralization, as did its corporate parent, Quest Patent Research Corporation. Taasera alternatively suggests centralization in the Eastern District of Texas.
The JPML found that the four actions involve common questions of fact and that “centralization in the Eastern District of Texas will serve the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of this litigation.” Of the eleven patents at issue in the four actions, six were asserted in all four actions and three were asserted in three actions. The JPML concluded that the actions would share factual questions concerning the technology underlying the patents, prior art, and claim construction. The JPML discounted differences in the accused products on account that the accused products “operate in the same field of technology” and that the infringement allegations by the patent owner were similar across the accused infringers.
The JPML selected the Eastern District of Texas as the appropriate transferee district for the litigation because the first two actions to be filed were filed there.