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Verinata Health, Inc. v. Sequenom, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California

May 5, 2015

VERINATA HEALTH, INC., et al., Plaintiffs,
SEQUENOM, INC., et al., Defendants.


SUSAN ILLSTON, District Judge.


On February 2, 2015, the Court denied cross-motions for summary judgment filed by Sequenom and CHUK, and sua sponte stayed the action pending the Federal Circuit's resolution of the appeal from Biogen Idec MA, Inc. v. Japanese Found. for Cancer Research, No. CIV. 13-13061-FDS, 2014 WL 2167677 (D. Mass. May 22, 2014), which found that the proper forum for ยง 146 appeals from PTAB interference proceedings declared after September 16, 2012 is the Federal Circuit, not a district court. Docket No. 345. This Court found that if the Federal Circuit affirms the Biogen ruling, it would likely deprive this Court of subject matter jurisdiction over this case.[1] This Court stayed this case to "spare the parties the expense of prosecuting a trial that may ultimately prove to have been brought in the wrong forum." Id. at 12.

On three separate occasions counsel for CHUK communicated with counsel for Stanford in an attempt to stipulate to a request for a telephonic conference to discuss the implications of the Biogen decision with the Court; however the parties were not able to come to an agreement. Docket No. 344. On January 30, 2015, CHUK filed an administrative motion requesting a telephonic conference to which Stanford did not respond. Id. Three days later, the Court issued its order staying the case which is now the subject of Stanford's motion for reconsideration.


Stanford brings a motion for reconsideration, contending "manifest failure by the Court to consider material facts or dispositive legal arguments which were presented to the Court." See Civil L.R. 7-9(b)(3). Stanford's motion proceeds by first arguing that the Federal Circuit may not even reach the jurisdictional question implicated in the Biogen decision, and by concluding with a lengthy rebuttal of the Biogen court's holding.[2] Neither is a proper basis to file a motion for reconsideration.

Stanford suggests that it does not appear "that this Court reviewed the appeal briefs in Biogen to verify the issues on appeal for itself to confirm whether the Biogen appeal will resolve the jurisdictional question raised by CUHK." Motion at 1-2. However, the jurisdictional question is in fact briefed at length in all three appellate briefs. See Motion, Exh. 1-3. Moreover, while it may be theoretically possible for the Federal Circuit to decide the Biogen case without addressing the jurisdictional question which bears on this action, that alone cannot serve as a proper basis for reconsideration.

"Courts have inherent power to manage their dockets and stay proceedings." Ethicon, Inc. v. Quigg, 849 F.2d 1422, 1426-27 (Fed. Cir. 1988) (citations omitted); see also Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 706 (1997) ("The District Court has broad discretion to stay proceedings as an incident to its power to control its own docket."). Courts often stay patent cases to "avoid inconsistent results, narrow the issues, obtain guidance from the PTO, or simply... avoid the needless waste of judicial resources." Pragmatus AV, LLC v. Facebook, Inc., No. 11-CV-02168-EJD, 2011 WL 4802958, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Oct. 11, 2011) (internal citations omitted). Nothing in Stanford's motion explains how the Court abused its discretion by staying the proceeding. Indeed, its motion is nothing more than a thinly veiled expression of its disagreement with the Court's prior order. However "[a] party seeking reconsideration must show more than a disagreement with the Court's decision." United States v. Westlands Water Dist., 134 F.Supp.2d 1111, 1131 (E.D. Cal. 2001) (discussing Rule 59(e)) (internal quotations omitted). Accordingly, the Court DENIES Stanford's motion for reconsideration.[3]


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