Judge Stark Consolidates Pending Litigation with Lawsuit Transferred to District of Delaware

June 14, 2018

Publication| Intellectual Property

In SZ DJI Technology Co. v. Autel Robotics USA LLC, No. 16-706-LPS (D. Del. Mar. 14, 2018), Chief Judge Stark granted the defendants’ motion to consolidate this action with a case transferred from the Western District of Washington. The plaintiffs argued in opposition that the two cases concerned distinct inventions with little overlap, but Chief Judge Stark found that consolidation would further judicial efficiency because the identical parties were involved in each suit, the patents at issue in each case overlapped and had inventors in common, and the patents related to components of the same device (an unmanned aerial vehicle). The plaintiffs also argued that consolidation would create juror confusion, a risk the Court acknowledged, but the Court emphasized that the decision not to consolidate could result in two trials with inconsistent verdicts.

Key Point: The Court stated that the six patents at issue in the consolidated case would be a “high number” for a jury to consider, but that appropriate case management, such as the use of proper jury instructions, would “ensure” there would be no juror confusion.

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