United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION AND PLAINTIFF'S CROSS-MOTION FOR RULE 11 SANCTIONS
(Re: Docket Nos. 43, 53)
PAUL S. GREWAL, Magistrate Judge.
Defendant Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC moves for Rule 11 sanctions against Plaintiff Rothschild Digital Media Innovations, LLC on the grounds that Rothschild's complaint for infringement of United States Patent No. 6, 101, 534 is frivolous. Rothschild has in turn filed a cross-motion for sanctions against Sony and its counsel on the grounds that Sony's sanctions motion is itself frivolous. Because the court does not find either pleading frivolous at this early stage of the case, both motions are DENIED.
When making a Fed.R.Civ.P. 11 determination in patent cases, courts apply the law of the regional circuit. In the Ninth Circuit, Rule 11(b) sanctions may be imposed when pleadings, papers and the like are presented for an improper purpose or include arguments that are "frivolous." A frivolous argument is one that is "legally or factually baseless" under an objective standard and made "without a reasonable and competent inquiry." Under Rule 11(c), a district court may impose sanctions on a party, its attorneys or both.
The '534 patent, issued in 2000 and assigned to Rothschild, describes an online computer interface system. Claim 1 of the '534 Patent recites:
1. An interactive, remote, computer interface system comprising:
a remote server assembly, said remote server assembly including a quantity of primary site data;
said remote server assembly including at least one primary site address, said primary site address including at least a portion of said primary site data and being distinct so as to identify a location thereof on a computer network;
a local processor assembly;
said local processor assembly being coupled in data transmitting and receiving communication with said remote server assembly;
at least one data storage assembly associated with said local processor assembly and structured to contain a quantity of auxiliary site data thereon, said auxiliary site data being associated with said primary site data;
said data storage assembly including a compact, portable and interchangeable computer readable medium;
said compact, portable and interchangeable computer readable medium including a plurality of remotely accessible, auxiliary site addresses, encoded therein, each of said remotely accessible, auxiliary site addresses, including select portions of said quantity of auxiliary site data; and
said remotely accessible, auxiliary site addresses being structured to be remotely accessed by said remote server assembly so as to initiate utilization of said select portions of said quantity of auxiliary site data by said local ...