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Formfactor, Inc. v. Mr. Prober Technology Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California

April 23, 2015

FORMFACTOR, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
MR. PROBER TECHNOLOGY INC., et al., Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT Re: Dkt. No. 91

JAMES DONATO, District Judge.

In this copyright infringement action, plaintiff FormFactor, Inc. ("FormFactor") has moved for default judgment against defendants Mr. Prober Technology, Inc. ("Mr. Prober") and Dennis Huang. The Court grants the motion.

BACKGROUND

This case involves the alleged infringement of FormFactor's copyrights in software that is "used to operate industrial semiconductor wafer prober inspection systems." Dkt. No. 91 at 1. These probers were built by Electroglas, Inc. and Electroglas International Inc. (together "Electroglas"), which filed for bankruptcy in July of 2009. First Amended Complaint ¶ 17. During a bankruptcy auction, FormFactor purchased Electroglas' intellectual property rights associated with its prober systems. Id. ¶ 18. FormFactor alleges that defendants Mr. Prober, Mr. Huang, MPT Equipment, Inc. ("MPT"), and Long Nim have infringed its prober copyrights. Id. ¶¶ 24-30. More specifically, FormFactor claims that Mr. Prober is "re-building, offering for sale, and selling" Electroglas probers and software, without a license or other authorization. Id. ¶ 24.

Mr. Prober is a Taiwanese corporation and Mr. Huang, a resident of Taiwan, is its chief executive. Id. ¶ 6. Mr. Huang is also a former employee of Electroglas. Id. ¶ 2. MPT is a California corporation with its principal place of business in San Jose, and is the "United States subsidiary and/or affiliate of Mr. Prober." Id. ¶ 9. Mr. Nim is the founder of Mr. Prober and the president of MPT. Id. ¶¶ 6, 8. On June 3, 2014, MPT and Mr. Nim filed for bankruptcy. Dkt. No. 59. The proceedings against those parties are stayed, and this order does not pertain to them.

FormFactor filed the original complaint on August 8, 2013. Dkt. No. 1. Mr. Huang was added as a defendant in FormFactor's amended complaint, filed on June 10, 2014. Dkt. No. 63. Mr. Prober and Mr. Huang have failed to answer FormFactor's complaint or otherwise appear in this matter. The clerk of the court entered default against Mr. Prober on September 11, 2014, and against Mr. Huang on September 15, 2014. Dkt. Nos. 83-84. FormFactor filed this motion for default judgment on November 18, 2014. Defendants have not responded or appeared in any way.

DISCUSSION

I. JURISDICTION

In default judgment proceedings, the Court has an affirmative duty to consider whether it has jurisdiction over the subject matter and parties to the case. See In re Tuli, 172 F.3d 707, 712 (9th Cir. 1999). Because this is a copyright infringement case, the Court has subject matter jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1338(a). The Court also has personal jurisdiction over Mr. Prober and Mr. Huang because Mr. Prober ships allegedly infringing products to MPT and other customers located in this district, and Mr. Huang has "personally engaged" in these infringing transactions. First Amended Complaint ¶ 1. In light of their business transactions in this district, defendants have sufficient minimum contacts with California for personal jurisdiction purposes. Schwarzenegger v. Fred Martin Motor Co., 374 F.3d 797, 802 (9th Cir. 2004). Service is proper because Mr. Prober and Mr. Huang were hand-delivered the amended complaint on August 15, 2014. See Dkt. Nos. 79-80.

II. DEFAULT JUDGMENT

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b)(2), a party may apply to the Court for entry of judgment by default against a defendant that has failed to defend against the action. "The district court's decision whether to enter a default judgment is a discretionary one." Aldabe v. Aldabe, 616 F.2d 1089, 1092 (9th Cir. 1980).

The decision is based on these factors:

(1) the possibility of prejudice to the plaintiff, (2) the merits of plaintiff's substantive claim, (3) the sufficiency of the complaint, (4) the sum of money at stake in the action; (5) the possibility of a dispute concerning material facts; (6) whether the default was due to excusable neglect, and (7) the strong policy ...

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