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Honeywell Int'l, Inc. v. Audiovox Communs. Corp.

United States District Court for the District of Delaware

October 7, 2005, Decided

Civil Action No. 04-1337-KAJ (Consolidated), Civil Action No. 04-1338-KAJ, Civil Action No. 04-1536-KAJ

Opinion

MEMORANDUM ORDER

In these consolidated cases, Honeywell International Inc. and Honeywell Intellectual Properties, Inc. (collectively "Honeywell") have sued 35 defendants, C.A. Nos.04-1338-KAJ and 04-337-KAJ, and have been seud in turn, C.A. No. 04-1536-KAJ. Several third-party-defendants have also been brought into the fray. In all of the cases, the underlying issue is whether Liquid Crystal Display ("LCD") modules incorporated into consumer electronics products infringe Honeywell's U.S. Patent No. 5,280,371 (the "'371 patent" or "patent-in-suit"). The extraordinary number of defendants includes many who are retailers of products that incorporate LCD modules, or are consumer device manufacturers that only acquire, LCD modules from other manufacturers, rather than being manufacturers of the modules themselves. 1 Given that number and variety of defendants, I have attempted for several months to bring the parties to a consensus position on how best to organize the cases so that the litigation can proceed on an efficient and appropriate basis, with suit proceeding against the Manufacturers in the first instance. [*2]  (See D.I. 119 in C.A. 04-1337-KAJ.)

Among other things, on May 18, 2005, I issued a Memorandum Order stating that "large-scale litigation like this requires the business and strategic legal interests of the plaintiff to cede some ground to case management imperatives." (Id. at 7.) I ruled that dealing first with the Manufacturers "is the fairest and most efficient way to proceed." (Id. at 8.)  [*3]  To that end, I stayed the cases against the Non-manufacturer Defendants, with the exception of permitting Honeywell to take some limited discovery to determine the identity of Manufacturers whom it may wish to sue as infringers. I ordered the parties "to confer and provide me with proposed language respecting permissible discovery activities directed at the non-manufacturer defendants during the stay." Unfortunately, despite two in-person conferences with counsel, which involved literally dozens of attorneys, and despite the direction given in the Memorandum Order in May, these cases are still not progressing. It is apparent that I have not been sufficiently clear in previous statements to guide the parties toward a mutually acceptable resolution of the allowable discovery against the Non-manufacturer Defendants. I now have a request from Honeywell seeking yet another in-person conference of the parties and the court. (D.I. 139.) Because I do not believe further discussion will be productive and will only increase the substantial costs associated with these cases, I will not again convene the platoons of attorneys involved. Instead, I am providing the following direction 2 and schedule [*4]  for discovery against the Non-manufacturer Defendants.

 [*5]  IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:

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2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41822 *; 2005 WL 3988905

HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL INC., and HONEYWELL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTIES INC., Plaintiffs, v. AUDIOVOX COMMUNICATIONS CORP., AUDIOVOX ELECTRONICS CORPORATION, NIKON CORPORATION, NIKON, INC., NOKIA CORPORATION; NOKIA INC., SANYO ELECTRIC CO., LTD., and SANYO NORTH AMERICA CORPORATION, Defendants. SEIKO EPSON CORPORATION, Intervenor. HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL INC., and HONEYWELL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTIES INC., Plaintiffs, v. APPLE COMPUTER, INC.; ARGUS A/K/A HARTFORD COMPUTER GROUP, INC.; CASIO COMPUTER CO., LTD.; CASIO INC.; CONCORD CAMERAS; DELL INC.; EASTMANK KODAK COMPANY; FUGI PHOTO FILM CO., LTD.; FUJI PHOTO FILM U.S.A., INC.; FUJITSU LIMITED; FUJITSU AMERICA, INC.; FUJITSU COMPUTER PRODUCTS OF AMERICA, INC.; KYOCERA WIRELESS CORP.; MATSUSHITA ELECTRICAL INDUSTRIAL CO.; MATSUSHITA ELECTRICAL CORPORATION OF AMERICA; NAVMAN NZ LIMITED; NAVMAN U.S.A. INC.; OLYMPUS CORPORATION; OLYMPUS AMERICA, INC.; PENTAX CORPORATION; PENTAX U.S.A., INC.; SONY CORPORATION; SONY CORPORATION OF AMERICA; SONY ERICSON MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS AB; SONY ERICSSON MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS (USA) INC.; TOSHIBA CORPORATION; and TOSHIBA AMERICA, INC., Defendants. SEIKO EPSON CORPORATION, Intervenor. OPTREX AMERICA. INC., Plaintiff, v. HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL INC., and HONEYWELL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTIES INC., Defendants.

Subsequent History: Motion denied by, Sub nomine at Honeywell Int'l, Inc. v. Apple Computer, Inc., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32857 (D. Del., Apr. 18, 2008)

Prior History: Honeywell Int'l Inc. v. Audiovox Communs. Corp., 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22933 (D. Del., May 18, 2005)

CORE TERMS

Manufacturers, modules, Non-manufacturer, infringing, discovery