Judge threatens Google, Seven Networks with sanctions in patent infringement case

By Chandra Lye | Aug 1, 2018

MARSHALL – A Marshall Division of the Eastern District of Texas judge has denied a motion filed by Google LLC's in a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Seven Networks, calling it a "serious disregard for this court's rules, orders and authority."

U.S. District Court Judge Rodney Gilstrap denied Google’s motion to establish procedure for resolving remaining claim construction disputes July 19.

“The magnitude of the difficulties which the parties’ conduct and Google’s motion have injected into this litigation should not be understated,” Gilstrap wrote. 

“The parties appear to presumptively require the court accede to their unilateral decision to brief only a subset of the claim terms and then present other terms at a second claim construction hearing when convenient,” Gilstrap wrote.

The situation arose after Seven Networks filed a lawsuit on May 17, 2017, claiming that Google infringed on one of its patents. 

For efficiency, the court ordered a Markman hearing and ordered the two companies to discuss the case and let the court know if either intended to “expanded page limits or other measures to facilitate such concurrent claim construction,” according to the order.

On May 14, a joint document to the courts indicated there were four points the parties could not agree on. The court issued an order on conduct of claim construction, “setting forth, inter alia, its resolution of the four points of contention,” on May 23.

However, both parties continued to file subsequent motions, frustrating the court.

“The court will countenance neither the parties’ unilateral actions which it details herein nor Google’s attempt to use the perceived sword of O2 Micro to essentially hijack this court’s claim construction process and its prerogative to manage its own cases following such unilateral action,” the opinion states.

The court gave Google two choices: Elect to explicitly waive all non-briefed disputed terms identified in the joint claim construction statement, or elect to withdraw its responsive claim construction brief and refile such briefing including argument as to all disputed terms, which the court previously ordered.

The court noted that if Google failed to respond in three days, the case would continue as if it had chosen to waive the non-briefed disputed terms.

Gilstrap further ordered the parties to appear before the court on Aug. 7 “and show cause why they should not be sanctioned for their conduct.”

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