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Epic Games, Inc. v. Acceleration Bay LLC

United States District Court for the Northern District of California

April 1, 2020, Decided; April 1, 2020, Filed

CASE NO. 4:19-cv-04133-YGR

Opinion

Order Denying Defendant's Motion to Strike

Re: Dkt. No. 53

Defendant Acceleration Bay LLC ("Acceleration Bay") requests that the Court strike counterclaims-in-reply asserted by Plaintiff Epic Games, Inc. ("Epic Games") in its counterclaim answer, or, in the alternative, to reclassify those counterclaims-in-reply as amendments to the complaint. (Dkt. No. 53 ("Mot.").) Having considered the papers, as well as arguments by counsel on February 11, 2020, the Court DENIES Acceleration Bay's motion to strike.

I. Background

Epic Games filed this action seeking a declaratory judgment of non-infringement [*2]  of certain patents owned by Acceleration Bay. (Dkt. No. 1 ("Complaint").) Acceleration Bay moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground that no "case or controversy" existed between the parties. (Dkt. No. 22.) The Court rejected Acceleration Bay's motion on the record based on Epic Games' evidence that Acceleration Bay threatened Epic Games with a multi-million-dollar lawsuit over alleged infringement. (Dkt. No. 39; see also Dkt. No. 24.)

Following the motion to dismiss, Acceleration Bay answered the complaint and asserted counterclaims of infringement against Epic Games. (Dkt. No. 41 ("Answer").) Epic Games answered the counterclaim and simultaneously asserted six counterclaims-in-reply for invalidity of the asserted patents. (Dkt. No. 45 ("Counterclaim Answer").) Acceleration Bay then brought this motion seeking to strike or reclassify Epic Games' counterclaims-in-reply as amendments to the complaint. Each of the pleadings concerns identical claims found in the six asserted patents.

II. Legal Standard

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f) permits a court to strike from a pleading an insufficient defense and "any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter." Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(f). Motions to strike are disfavored in part because [*3]  of the limited importance of pleadings in federal practice. Gold Club-SF, LLC v. Platinum SJ Enter., No. 13-cv-03797-WHO, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 170458, 2013 WL 6248475, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 3, 2013). The essential purpose of Rule 12(f) is to "avoid the expenditure of time and money that must arise from litigating spurious issues by dispensing with those issues prior to trial." Fantasy, Inc. v. Fogerty, 984 F.2d 1524, 1527 (9th Cir. 1993). Accordingly, a court must construe the pleading in light most favorable to the pleading party and deny the motion to strike if the pled allegations might be relevant to the action. Daily v. Fed. Ins. Co., No. C 04-3791 PJH, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46001, 2005 WL 14734, at *5 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 3, 2005).

III. Analysis

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2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58327 *

EPIC GAMES, INC., Plaintiff, vs. ACCELERATION BAY LLC, Defendant.

Prior History: Epic Games, Inc. v. Acceleration Bay LLC, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 185540 (N.D. Cal., Oct. 25, 2019)

CORE TERMS

patent, counterclaim, counterclaims-in-reply, invalidity, infringement, affirmative defense, declaratory judgment, courts, civil action, challenging, district court, reclassify