Richards Layton & Finger
 

Judge Andrews Denies Plaintiff's Request to Enter Rule 54(b) Judgment

February 9, 2017

In Sound View Innovations, LLC v. Facebook, Inc., C.A. 16-116-RGA (D. Del. Jan. 17, 2017), Judge Andrews denied a motion for entry of final judgment under Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b) filed by the plaintiff, Sound View Innovations, LLC (“Sound View”), after one of the seven patents-in-suit was invalidated for lack of patentable subject matter. Sound View noted that the invalidated patent did not overlap the remaining patents-in-suit (an assertion of which the Court was skeptical) and that there would be no benefit to making Sound View await the conclusion of the suit to appeal the Court’s ruling. But Judge Andrews labeled Sound View’s approach as “piecemeal” litigation that forces appellate courts to expend resources, perhaps unnecessarily; for instance, the tendency of patent cases to settle, according to the Court, made it unlikely that the Federal Circuit would ever hear an appeal from this case if Judge Andrews denied the motion. Accordingly, Judge Andrews declined to direct final judgment under Rule 54(b) as to this patent.

Key Points:  In the Court’s view, the facts of this case did not present a compelling argument for entry of final judgment on less than all claims under Rule 54(b). Judge Andrews found no merit in allowing Sound View to appeal “one-seventh” of its case while the remainder of the litigation proceeded.