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Mformation Technologies, Inc. v. Research In Motion Limited

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

August 29, 2013

MFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
RESEARCH IN MOTION LIMITED, et al., Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING MST'S MOTION TO JOIN AS CO-PLAINTIFF (Docket No. 1145)

EDWARD M. CHEN, District Judge.

In August 2012, Judge Ware (the then-presiding judge) entered a judgment in favor of Defendants Research in Motion Ltd. and Research in Motion Corp. (collectively "RIM") and against Plaintiff Mformation Technologies, Inc. ("MT"). See Docket No. 1075 (judgment). MT subsequently appealed the judgment to the Federal Circuit, see Docket No. 1087 (notice of appeal), as did another party - namely, Mformation Software Technologies LLC ("MST") - after purportedly acquiring from MT the right to sue for past infringements. See Docket No. 1137 (notice of appeal). MST then moved to substitute as the plaintiff in the case. RIM opposed and moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction or, in the alternative, for a remand to this Court to address factual issues.

On July 18, 2013, the Federal Circuit issued an order in which it "grant[ed] a limited remand so that [this Court could] decide the motion to substitute." Reines Decl., Ex. 3 (Order at 3). MST has now filed a motion to substitute or, in the alternative, to join with this Court. RIM has opposed. Having considered the parties' briefs and accompanying submissions, as well as the oral argument of counsel, the Court hereby GRANTS MST's alternative request for relief, i.e., for joinder.

I. FACTUAL & PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On August 8, 2012, Judge Ware entered a judgment in the case at bar. See Docket No. 1075 (judgment).

On September 5, 2012, MT filed, inter alia, a motion for a new trial. See Docket No. 1084 (motion). The next day, on September 6, 2012, MT appealed the judgment to the Federal Circuit. See Docket No. 1087 (notice of appeal). This appeal was given the following case number: No. 12-1679.

According to MST, on or about September 21, 2012, MT conveyed its right to sue for past infringements to MST.

On or about September 24, 2012, MT dissolved. See Reines Decl., Ex. 5 (Delaware Division of Corporations information).

On September 25, 2012, the Federal Circuit deactivated MT's appeal because of the pending motion for a new trial. See Appeal Docket No. 2 (order).[1]

On November 15, 2012, this Court (the case having been reassigned after Judge Ware left the bench) denied the motion for a new trial. See Docket No. 1124 (order).

On December 17, 2012, MST (not MT) filed a notice of appeal. See Docket No. 1137 (notice of appeal). This appeal was given a different case number: No. 13-1123.

On December 20, 2012, MT's appeal (No. 12-1679) was reactivated. See Appeal Docket No. 6. That same day, MST's appeal (No. 13-1123) was consolidated with MT's appeal (No. 12-1679).

On January 3, 2013, MST filed a motion to substitute with the Federal Circuit. See Appeal Docket No. 22 (motion).

On January 15 and 16, 2013, RIM opposed the motion and cross-moved to dismiss for lack of standing. See Docket Nos. 29-30 (opposition and cross-motion). RIM argued that MST's position was flawed because it had failed to provide any evidence to support its motion, choosing instead "to keep hidden from RIM the contract under which it allegedly purchased the patent-in-suit." Appeal Docket No. 30 (Opp'n at 7). In the alternative, RIM asked the Federal Circuit to remand to this Court - i.e., to address factual issues surrounding the alleged sale from MT to MST. RIM argued:

The district court can oversee discovery to uncover the exact terms of the alleged purchase that is the basis for [MST's] claim that it should be substituted for [MT]. And the district court is also better equipped to probe into related questions concerning a transaction that allegedly took all the assets out of [MT] and left RIM with nothing but an empty shell against which it can pursue more than $200, 000 in costs awarded by the district court. For example, the district court would undoubtedly have a particular interest in determining why, if [MST] actually became the real party in interest in this litigation as of September 21, 2012, [MT] continued to file papers for more than a month after that time - and in particular why, on November 2, 2012, ...

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