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Patent Holder, LLC. v. Lone Wolf Distributors, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Idaho

December 13, 2018

PATENT HOLDER, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
LONE WOLF DISTRIBUTORS, INC. and LONE WOLF R&D, LLC, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          David C. Nye, U.S. District Court Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Patent Holder LLC's Motion to Amend/Correct (Dkt. 48) and Defendants Lone Wolf Distributors, Inc, and Lone Wolf R&D, LLC's (collectively “Lone Wolf”) two Motions for Summary Judgment (Dkts. 40, 50).[1] On October 23, 2018, the Court held oral argument on all motions and took the matters under advisement. Upon review, the Court now issues the following decision GRANTING Patent Holder's Motion to Amend/Correct, DENYING Lone Wolf's first Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 40), and WITHHOLDING RULING on Lone Wolf's second Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 50) pending further briefing.

         II. BACKGROUND

         A. Procedural Background

         On June 20, 2018-prior to the Markman hearing in this case-Lone Wolf moved for Summary Judgement. Dkt. 40. The Court temporarily stayed that Motion while the Markman issues were underway.

         Following the Markman hearing, the Court reinstated a briefing schedule for the pending Motion for Summary Judgment. During the Markman hearing, Patent Holder indicated that it would be filing a Motion to Amend to correct its infringement contentions. Patent Holder subsequently filed such a motion. Dkt. 48. Lone Wolf then filed a second Motion for Summary Judgment. Dkt. 50. The substance of this second motion is almost identical to the first motion, but it is directed at the product Patent Holder seeks to add by way of its Motion to Amend and adds one additional ground in support of summary judgment as to the first accused product.

         B. Patent at Issue

         The sole patent at issue in this case is U.S. Patent 9, 404, 700 (“the ‘700 patent”). The ‘700 patent discloses “a firearm enhanced trigger control connector.” Dkt. 43-2, at 1, abstract. In layman's terms, the ‘700 patent discloses an after-market firearm product that, when placed in a Glock handgun, shortens the distance that the trigger must travel to discharge the firearm. Said differently, with such a product installed, the space from where a person begins to pull, or squeeze, the trigger, and the point at which the trigger actually engages the firing pin is shortened. The purpose of this device is to increase precision and accuracy in shooting.

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. Motion to Amend/Correct

         a. Background

         When Patent Holder originally filed this case, its Infringement Contentions alleged that Lone Wolf's product designated as LWD-342 G42/43 (the “342” product) was the sole accused product. By way of the instant motion, Patent Holder seeks to amend its Infringement Contentions to add one more product[2]-Lone Wolf's LWD-342-1 (the “342-1” product)-and four additional claims.

         b. Legal Standard

         Under the District of Idaho Local Patent Rules, “amendments to the Infringement Contentions or the Invalidity Contentions may be made only by order of the Court upon a timely application and showing of good cause.” Dist. Idaho Loc. Patent R. 3.7.

         Additionally, under Rule 3.1, a Plaintiff must provide a “claim chart” which identifies “specifically where each limitation of each asserted claim is found within each Accused Instrumentality.” Dist. Idaho Loc. Patent R. 3.1.

         c. Analysis

         In opposition, Lone Wolf argues that Patent Holder's Motion is untimely, that it has not met the requisite good cause standard, and that its claim chart is deficient. The Court will briefly address each argument in turn.

         i. Timeliness

         Lone Wolf asserts that Patent Holder's Motion is untimely as the Court has already engaged in claim construction. Lone Wolf is concerned that adding additional claims at this point could result in the Court having to undertake claim construction a second time. This is extremely unlikely. Even with the addition of an accused product and some claims, there are no new claim terms that must be decided. Each of the asserted claims are dependent claims-i.e. they are based upon independent claims (specifically claim 1)-which the Court has already construed.

         Second, the fact that Patent Holder's current counsel was not the original counsel in this case provides a certain amount of justification for the delay. The fact that it took some time for local counsel to “get up to speed” is not unusual. As will be discussed below, there is good cause for this delay and granting the Motion-even at this “late” stage-will not prejudice Lone Wolf.

         From all available information, it does not appear that any additional claim construction will be necessary, and the Court finds that Patent Holder filed its motion in as timely a manner as it could under the circumstances.

         ii. Good Cause

         Next, the Court must determine if good cause exists to allow an amendment to the Infringement Contentions in this case. Local Patent Rule 3.7 outlines a non-exhaustive list of what constitutes good cause. One of those examples is “recent discovery of material, prior art despite earlier diligent search.” Dist. Idaho Loc. Patent R. 3.7(b).

         Here, Patent Holder asserts that, until recently, Lone Wolf had not fully responded to its discovery requests. When Lone Wolf did respond, its responses included new and non-public information, which-when reviewed by Patent Holder-allowed it to identify another accused product.

         In contrast, Lone Wolf asserts that the newly identified product has been available on its website for many months and, had Patent Holder been diligent, it could have easily identified this product even before Lone Wolf responded to the discovery requests. Lone Wolf asserts that Patent Holder had a duty to be thorough, and claims “it would have taken less than 30 seconds to search the Defendants' website to see all of Defendants' connector products.” Dkt. 52, at 3. According to Lone Wolf, because Patent Holder ...


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