Judge Stark Grants Summary Judgment and Discovery Sanctions
April 28, 2016
Publication| Intellectual Property
In Robert Bosch LLC v. Alberee Products, Inc., C.A. No. 12-574-LPS, Chief Judge Stark granted the motions for summary judgment filed by the defendant Costco Wholesale Corporation (“Costco”) as to non-infringement of some of the patents-in-suit and stayed the case pending briefing on a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s (“Bosch”) complaint as a sanction for Bosch’s discovery violations. Costco argued that summary judgment of non-infringement was appropriate because Bosch had licensed its “side-lock wiper system” in the United States, and Costco’s use of parts covered by the patents-in-suit were for the repair of parts in that wiper system. Thus, Costco contended that the “doctrine of permissible repair” applied. The Court agreed that this doctrine applied and granted Costco’s motion for summary judgment.
As to the remaining counts and patents in the case, Costco argued that the Court should allow Costco to file a motion to dismiss the case as a sanction for Bosch’s failure to produce discovery as ordered by the Court. The Court had previously found that Bosch had failed to comply with the Court’s order to produce all agreements between Bosch and third parties related to the wiper or wiper systems. The Court also previously stated that Costco is “entitled to some relief possibly including dismissal of the entire case.”
The Court granted Costco’s motion to stay the case and entered an order “permitting Costco to file and the parties to brief a motion to dismiss [that] will stay essentially the remainder of the case until the Court decides the motion to dismiss.”
Analysis: While unusual in Delaware, an appropriate sanction for failure to produce documents pursuant to court order may include dismissal of some or all of the counts brought by the party that has failed to comply with the court order.