By Memorandum Opinion entered by The Honorable Leonard P. Stark in United Access Technologies, LLC v. CenturyTel Broadband Services, LLC, et al., Civil Action No. 11-339-LPS (D.Del., December 20, 2013), the Court granted the motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) of defendants CenturyTel Broadband Services, LLC and Qwest Corporation. Defendants argued that plaintiff United Access Technologies, LLC’s claims of infringement of U.S. Patent Numbers 5,844,596 (the”’596 patent”), 6,243,446 (the “’446 patent”), and 6,542,585 (the “’585 patent”) should be dismissed based on the application of collateral estoppel. Id. at 1. Specifically, defendants argued that the issue before the Court – whether industry standard ADSL could satisfy any claim element of the patents-in-suit – was already adjudicated against plaintiff in the prior EarthLink case. Id. at 3.
The Court agreed that the application of collateral estoppel was warranted in the instant action because the issue was actually litigated and necessary to the denial of plaintiff predecessor’s motion for judgment as a matter of law after the jury returned a verdict of non-infringement in the prior EarthLink case, plaintiff was fully represented by its predecessor in the EarthLink case and had a full and fair opportunity to adjudicate the issue. Id. at 12. The Court also recognized that the EarthLink action concluded with an enforceable final judgment that was entered by the District Court and affirmed on appeal by the Federal Circuit. The Court also noted that, in the instant action, plaintiff failed to disclose by the deadline imposed how the defendants’ accused systems differed in any way from the EarthLink systems with respect to their use of the industry standard ADSL. Id. Thus, the Court concluded that plaintiff offered no basis on which it could prove infringement by defendants of each of the elements of any claims of the patents-in-suit and therefore granted defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings. Id. at 13.
A copy of the Memorandum Opinion is attached.