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Joao Control & Monitoring Systems of California v. Acti Corporation

April 19, 2011

JOAO CONTROL & MONITORING SYSTEMS OF CALIFORNIA
v.
ACTI CORPORATION



The opinion of the court was delivered by: The Honorable David O. Carter, Judge

CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

Title:

Julie Barrera Not Present Courtroom Clerk Court Reporter

ATTORNEYS PRESENT FOR PLAINTIFFS: ATTORNEYS PRESENT FOR DEFENDANTS:

NONE PRESENT NONE PRESENT

PROCEEDING (IN CHAMBERS): AMENDED ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT UTC FIRE AND SECURITY CORPORATION'S MOTION TO DISMISS AND/OR SEVER FOR MISJOINDER

Before the Court is Defendant UTC Fire and Security Corporation's Motion to Dismiss and/or Sever itself from the instant action for improper joinder by Plaintiff Joao Control & Monitoring Systems of California in the above-captioned case ("Motion") (Docket 124). The Court finds this matter appropriate for decision without oral arguments. Fed.R.Civ. P. 78; Local Rule 7-15. After having considered the moving, opposing, and replying papers, the Court hereby GRANTS the Motion.

I. Background

Plaintiff Joao Control and Monitoring Systems of California ("Joao") alleges that it is the exclusive licensee of five patents: Patent, No. 5,917,405, entitled "Control Apparatus and Methods for Vehicles" ("405 patent"); Patent No. 6,542,076, entitled "Control, Monitoring and/or Security Apparatus ("706 patent"); Patent No. 6,549,130, entitled "Control Apparatus and Method for Vehicles and/or for Premises" ("130 patent"); Patent No. 6,587,046, entitled "Monitoring Apparatus and Method" ("046 patent"); and Patent No. 7,397,363, entitled "Control and/or Monitoring Apparatus and Method" ("363 patent") (collectively, "patents"). Complaint ("Compl.") ¶ 1. Joao alleges that Defendants provide and sell vehicle hardware and software that directly infringes Joao's patents. Id. at 6-17. In so doing, Defendants have allegedly solicited customers to purchase and use the respective infringing products. Id.

In light of this alleged wrongdoing, Joao filed its Complaint for patent infringement on December 15, 2010 (Docket 1) against twenty-one Defendants. On March 21, 2011, Defendant UTC Fire and Security Corporation ("UTC") filed the instant Motion requesting that the Court either dismiss or sever UTC from this action.

II. Discussion

UTC contends that Joao has failed to meet the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 20, which provides for the permissive joinder of parties. Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and/or Sever ¶ 1. If a party has been improperly joined under Rule 20, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 21 authorizes the Court to dismiss the misjoined party or sever the claims brought against it.

A. Joinder

Under Rule 20(a), multiple defendants may be joined in one action "if there is asserted against them jointly, severally, or in the alternative, any right to relief in respect of or arising out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences and if any question of law or fact common to all defendants will arise in the action." Both the "same transaction" test and the "common question" test must ...


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