In Positive Technologies, Inc. v. Sony Electronics, Inc. (January 28, 2013), Judge Illston (Northern District of California) granted Defendants Amazon.com, Inc.’s and Barnes & Nobles, Inc.’s motion to amend their invalidity contentions to add “conforming amendments” and “new-art amendments”. Both amendments are said to relate to the Court’s claim construction order. The Court focuses on the two aspects of good cause for the proposed amendments, including diligence in discovery the new information and the passage of time in seeking to add the new information to the contentions once discovered. Defendants argue that the amendments, particularly the new prior art, relate to an expansive claim construction concerning two types of devices covered in the Court’s claim construction order. Although six months elapsed between the claim construction order and when the Defendants located the new prior art, the detail surrounding Defendants’ efforts appears to have persuaded the Court the allow the proposed amendments.
In this case, the Court ruled that since fact discovery had not yet closed, and in light of Plaintiff failing to articulate whether the prior art was relevant, whether Defendants were engaging in “gamesmanship” for the amendments, and what type of prejudice would result to the Plaintiff, the Court permitted the proposed amendments.
Takeaways – it appears to be increasingly relevant to track the timing contention efforts once the initial contentions have been served. Details on these activities remain important to the Court when considering proposed amendments to invalidity contentions.