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Finjan, Inc. v. Cisco Systems Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division

July 17, 2019

FINJAN, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
CISCO SYSTEMS INC., Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING REMAINDER OF PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM NONDISPOSITIVE PRETRIAL ORDER OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE [RE: ECF 292]

          BETH LABSON FREEMAN United States District Judge.

         Before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Relief from Nondispositive Pretrial Order of Magistrate Judge (ECF 274). Motion, ECF 292. Plaintiff's motion requests relief from three aspects of Magistrate Judge Susan van Keulen's order at ECF 274:

(1) Denial of Plaintiff's motion for leave to supplement its infringement contentions with (a) internal code names of software components and (b) a new infringement contention concerning Talos;
(2) Striking Plaintiff's supplemental interrogatory response to Cisco's Interrogatory No. 10; and
(3) Compelling Plaintiff to produce further documents relating to its subsidiary's relationship with IBM.

See generally Motion. The Court previously denied Plaintiff's motion with respect to issues (2) and (3) and requested an opposition brief from Defendant regarding issue (1). See ECF 293. Defendant has submitted its opposition brief, see Opp'n, ECF 300, and this matter is suitable for submission without oral argument, see ECF 293.

         I. LEGAL STANDARD

         A district court may refer nondispositive pretrial matters to a magistrate judge under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). The district court “may reconsider any pretrial matter under this subparagraph (A) where it has been shown that the magistrate judge's order is clearly erroneous or contrary to law.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(a). On review of a nondispositive order, “the magistrate's factual determinations are reviewed for clear error, and the magistrate's legal conclusions are reviewed to determine whether they are contrary to law.” Perry v. Schwarzenegger, 268 F.R.D. 344, 348 (N.D. Cal. 2010). This standard is highly deferential- the district judge may not simply substitute his or her judgment for that of the magistrate judge. Grimes v. City & Cnty. of S.F., 951 F.2d 236, 241 (9th Cir. 1991).

         II. DISCUSSION

         The remaining issue consists of two subparts: (a) Judge van Keulen's denial of Plaintiff's motion for leave to supplement its infringement contentions with internal code names of software components; and (b) Judge van Keulen's denial of Plaintiff's motion for leave to supplement its infringement contentions with a new contention concerning Talos. See Motion at 1-3. The Court addresses each subpart in turn.

         A. Request to Supplement with Internal Code Names of Software Components

         During discovery, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to supplement its infringement contentions with internal code names of software components. See ECF 231 at 2. Judge van Keulen denied this request based on her finding that “Finjan's showing of diligence [was] insufficient.” See van Keulen Order at 7, ECF 274.

         Plaintiff argues that Judge van Keulen's order on this point should be reversed “because Finjan promptly notified Cisco of the internal code names accused of infringement and diligently sought to supplement its infringement contentions with this new information, as this Court indicated was appropriate in [Finjan, Inc. v. Blue Coat Sys., LLC, No. 15-cv-03295-BLF, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 220192, at *23 n.1 (N.D. Cal. July 28, 2017) (“Blue Coat II”)]. See Motion at 2. Defendant counters that Judge van Keulen properly considered the relevant law, that Blue Coat II does not support Plaintiff's position, and that “[none] of the ‘internal names' [were] new to Finjan.” See Opp'n at 1, ECF 300.

         Having reviewed the parties' arguments with respect to the internal code names issue, the Court now better understands the controversy between the parties and concurs with Judge van Keulen's determination that the issue is more complex than initially presented by Finjan. The Court would have expected Finjan to present a list of newly identified internal code names to be swapped out for less precise designations in the infringement contentions. Having been advised of this deficiency by Judge van Keulen, Finjan has done nothing to persuade this Court that the true effect of its request is as benign as suggested in the moving papers. Thus, the Court finds no “clear error” in Judge van Keulen's factual determinations and does not find that Judge van Keulen's legal conclusions are “contrary to law.” See Perry, 268 F.R.D. at 348. The Court will not substitute its judgment for the considered judgment of Judge van Keulen. See Grimes, ...


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