United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER: (1) DENYING MOTION TO LIFT STAY; (2) EXTENDING STAY AND SETTING CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE; AND (3) DENYING REQUEST FOR CERTIFICATION OF INTERLOCUTORY APPEAL RE:
DKT. NO. 155
YVONNE GONZALEZ ROGERS, District Judge.
Before the Court is plaintiff Cascades Computer Innovation LLC's Motion to Lift Stay. (Dkt. No. 155-1 ("Mot.").) Defendants oppose the motion. (Dkt. No. 157 ("Oppo.").) Having carefully considered the papers submitted and the record in this case,  and being fully informed thereon, the Court DENIES plaintiff's motion to lift the stay at this juncture. However, given the near conclusion of the patent trial justifying the stay, the stay will be lifted on July 31, 2015.
I. RELEVANT BACKGROUND
The instant dispute concerns an alleged antitrust price-fixing conspiracy regarding licenses to certain patents. On March 4, 2014, the Court stayed this litigation pending resolution of a case in the Northern District of Illinois, Cascades v. Motorola Mobility et al., No. 11 cv 4574 MFK ("Illinois Action"), involving one of the critical patents at issue here. (Dkt. No. 133 at 3 ("[S]ubstantial efficiencies may result from allowing the patent litigation to run its course before proceeding to the merits of the antitrust action.").) The stay has since been extended until June 22, 2015, as the Illinois Action continued to run its course. ( See Dkt. Nos. 150, 154.) On January 6, 2015, Judge Kennelly granted in part and denied in part a motion for summary judgment for non-infringement in the Illinois Action. See Illinois Action, Dkt. Nos. 223, 229. That case is now set for a one-week jury trial starting on July 13, 2015. No delays are expected.
II. ORDER DENYING MOTION TO LIFT STAY
A. LEGAL FRAMEWORK
A district court has discretionary power to stay proceedings before it. See Landis v. North American Co., 299 U.S. 248, 254 (1936) ("[T]he power to stay proceedings is incidental to the power inherent in every court to control the disposition of the causes on its docket with economy of time and effort for itself, for counsel, and for litigants."). The court "may, with propriety, find it is efficient for its own docket and the fairest course for the parties to enter a stay of an action before it, pending resolution of independent proceedings which bear upon the case." Leyva v. Certified Grocers of Cal. Ltd., 593 F.2d 857, 863 (9th Cir. 1979).
"[T]he same court that imposes a stay of litigation has the inherent power and discretion to lift the stay." Akeena Solar Inc. v. Zep Solar Inc., No. C 09-05040 JSW, 2011 WL 2669453, at *2 (N.D. Cal. July 7, 2011) (quoting Canady v. Erbe Elektromedizin GmbH, 271 F.Supp.2d 64, 74 (D.D.C. 2002)). The court may lift the stay if the circumstances warranting its imposition have since "changed significantly." Evolutionary Intelligence, LLC v. LivingSocial, Inc., No. 13-CV-04205-WHO, 2014 WL 2735185, at *2 (N.D. Cal. June 16, 2014) (quoting Canady, 271 F.Supp.2d at 74).
The stay was implemented because "substantial efficiencies may result from allowing the patent litigation to run its course before proceeding to the merits of the antitrust action." (Dkt. No. 133 at 3.) For instance, "if the Illinois litigation determines that Plaintiff's 750 Patent is invalid, any damage stemming from a refusal to negotiate a license under that patent may well prove to be illusory." ( Id. ) "Thus, the Illinois litigation has the potential to narrow substantially, or moot entirely, the antitrust issues now before this Court." ( Id. ) Judge Kennelly's recent order, clearing the way for a jury trial in the near future, does not justify lifting the stay. To the contrary, it strengthens the justification for maintaining the stay, because a relevant judgment should soon issue in that case. Defendant reiterates its previous argument, claiming even if it suffers an adverse decision in the Illinois Action, the instant action will not be entirely resolved. (Dkt. No. 159 ("Reply") at 1; see also Dkt. No. 122 at 1.) However, even if the Illinois Action only substantially narrows the issues involved here, maintaining the stay for a few more months is warranted.
III. ORDER EXTENDING STAY AND SETTING CMC
The stay is currently in place only until June 22, 2015. (Dkt. No. 154.) In light of the upcoming one-week trial, set for July 13, 2015, and for the reasons stated above, the Court hereby EXTENDS the stay to be lifted effective July 31, 2015 to allow that trial to run its course before this case resumes. A case management conference ("CMC") is SET for September 14, 2015.
IV. ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR INTERLOCUTORY APPEAL
Plaintiff also requested, in its reply brief in support of the motion to lift the stay, that the Court certify this issue for interlocutory appeal under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) in ...