Richards Layton & Finger
 

Chief Judge Stark Denies Motion to Stay Pending Arbitration

June 5, 2019

In Dorco Co. v. Gillette Co., No. 18-1306-LPS-CJB (Mar. 14, 2019), Chief Judge Stark denied the defendant’s motion to stay pending arbitration (brought both under the Federal Arbitration Act and as a matter of judicial discretion) and denied as moot the plaintiff’s motion to enjoin arbitration.

The parties agreed that an earlier settlement agreement between them included a valid arbitration provision, but disputed whether the patent asserted in this case fell within its scope. The Court found that it was unequivocal that the asserted patent was not subject to the arbitration clause in the agreement between the parties. For that reason, stated the Court, the question of scope itself was not one for an arbitrator to decide.

The Court stated that it would enjoin the arbitration if needed, but that its denial of the motion to stay should moot the defendant’s motion to enjoin, as the defendant sought an injunction only until the Court could rule on the question of arbitrability.

Key Point: The Court found that the arbitration clause at issue could not cover the asserted patent, with the result that there was no presumption that this same question should be submitted to the arbitrator.