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Brilliant Instruments, Inc v. Guidetech

September 28, 2012

BRILLIANT INSTRUMENTS, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
GUIDETECH, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Claudia Wilken United States District Judge

ORDER DENYING BRILLIANT'S MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES AND NON- TAXABLE COSTS AND ALL RELATED COUNTERCLAIMS

Plaintiff and Counterclaim-Defendant Brilliant Instruments, Inc. moves for an award of attorneys' fees pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 14 § 285, and an award of expert witness fees pursuant to the Court's 15 inherent authority. Defendant and Counter-Claimant GuideTech LLC, 16 formerly GuideTech Inc., opposes the motion. For the reasons set 17 forth below, Brilliant's motion is denied. 18

BACKGROUND

In 1998, Shalom Kattan founded Guide Technology, Inc., the 20 predecessor entity to GuideTech. Kattan invented the technology 21 claimed by the patents-in-suit, which he assigned to Guide 22

Technology. In 2004, Kattan left his employment with Guide 23

Technology, but remained on its board of directors. That same 24 year, Kattan established Brilliant. In 2005, Kattan left his 25 position on Guide Technology's board. On May 23, 2008, Guide 26

Technology sold its assets, which included the patents-in-suit, to 27

Ronen Sigura, who founded GuideTech. 28

Brilliant filed this declaratory relief action on November

20, 2009, alleging that its accused products, such as the BI200 3 and BI220, do not infringe GuideTech's U.S. Patent Nos. 6,091,671 4

('671 patent); 6,181,649 ('649 patent); 6,226,231 ('231 patent); 5

6,456,959; 6,621,767; 6,999,382; and 7,203,610. The patents-in-6 suit concern time interval analyzers, which are testing 7 instruments used in the semiconductor industry to detect timing 8 errors in integrated circuits. On December 14, 2009, GuideTech 9 filed its answer and counterclaim, asserting that Brilliant's 10 products infringe the '671, '649 and '231 patents. Brilliant filed a motion to strike the background section of GuideTech's counterclaim, which the Court denied by order entered March 24, 13 2010. On April 7, 2010, Brilliant filed an answer to GuideTech's 14 counterclaim and a counterclaim for a declaratory judgment of 15 invalidity of the asserted patents. On June 3, 2010, Brilliant 16 amended its complaint to add GuideTech's president, Ronen Sigura, 17 as a Defendant, charging him with intentional interference with 18 prospective economic advantage, intentional interference with 19 contractual relations and violation of California's Unfair 20

Competition Law, Cal. Bus. Code §§ 17200, et seq. 21

On November 12, 2010, GuideTech filed a complaint in Santa

Clara County Superior Court alleging claims for tortious 23 interference with prospective economic advantage and slander 24 against Brilliant and Kattan and breach of contract against 25

Kattan. GuideTech filed an amended complaint on December 8, 2010. 26

On December 13, 2010, Brilliant removed the state court action, 27 and it was related to the instant action by order entered January 28 18, 2011. See GuideTech LLC v. Brilliant Instruments, Inc., et al., Case No. C10-5669 CW. GuideTech filed a motion to remand, 2 which the Court granted by order entered March 14, 2011. The 3

Court also granted GuideTech's motion for attorneys' fees incurred 4 as a result of the improper removal. 5

The Court referred the case to a Magistrate Judge for 6 resolution of all discovery disputes. The Magistrate Judge held 7 discovery hearings on January 11, 2011, to resolve Brilliant's 8 motion to compel production of documents, and on January 13, 2011, 9 to resolve the parties' dispute over GuideTech's objections to 10 questions posed by Brilliant at the deposition of Oren Rajuan, GuideTech's president. On the last day to file discovery motions,

January 28, 2011, Brilliant filed a motion to compel concerning 13 the parties' dispute over GuideTech's privilege-based objections, 14 then withdrew the motion on February 25, 2011. 15

On December 30, 2010, GuideTech filed a motion for leave to 16 amend its infringement contentions, which the Court granted by 17 order entered January 3, 2011. On February 10, 2011, GuideTech 18 moved to strike prior art references from Brilliant's expert 19 report on the ground that they were not disclosed in Brilliant's 20 invalidity contentions. On March 15, 2011, the Court granted 21

GuideTech's motion to strike references from Dr. Kaliski's report 22 to the extent that they were relied upon as prior art that 23 allegedly anticipated the claims asserted in this action or 24 rendered such claims obvious. Docket no. 85. 25

On March 16, 2011, Brilliant filed a motion to amend its

26 preliminary invalidity contentions to add a prior art reference. 27

Brilliant also filed a motion for leave to file a Daubert motion 28 to exclude the reports and testimony of GuideTech's expert witness, Dr. West, on April 16, 2011, fifteen days after the 2 deadline adopted by the Court. The Court denied both motions by 3 order entered April 29, 2011. 4

The parties sought the Court's construction of the disputed

5 claim terms used in the '671, '649 and '231 patents. Brilliant 6 also moved for summary judgment of non-infringement of the 7 patents-in-suit. GuideTech filed a motion for summary 8 adjudication on the equitable issue of assignor estoppel. 9

By order entered August 11, 2011, the Court construed the

United States District Court For the Northern District of California

10 disputed claim terms, granted Brilliant's motion for summary 11 judgment of non-infringement, and denied as moot GuideTech's motion for summary adjudication on the issue of assignor estoppel. 13

Docket no. 137. 14

On August 16, 2011, the parties stipulated to dismissal of Brilliant's state law claims in this action without prejudice and 16 agreed to consolidate their state law claims in the action in 17

Santa Clara County Superior Court. Docket no. 139. 18

On September 20, 2011, Brilliant filed the ...


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