Judge Allows Patent Action Against Apple to Proceed

, New York Law Journal

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A magistrate judge has denied Apple's request to stay a patent infringement action filed against the computer giant over its Siri personal assistant technology.

Northern District Magistrate Judge David Peebles (See Profile) ruled from Syracuse that discovery will proceed in Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute v. Apple, 1:13-cv-0633. Apple had sought the stay while the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office weighed the company's petition for inter partes review [IPR] of 23 claims involving the '798 Patent that Rensselaer and co-plaintiff Dynamic Advances are suing under.

"While sensitive to the expense associated with litigating a patent infringement case, I am unable to conclude that there is a sound basis to place this case on hold during the pendency of the IPR petition and preclude the parties from continuing to engage in pretrial discovery," Peebles wrote.

He said he expects to schedule a claim construction hearing in the case before him for late March or early April.

Among the factors weighing against Apple's stay request, Peebles ruled, were that it is not clear that the proceeding before the Patent and Trademark Office "will, in fact, simplify any of the issues in this action" even if an IPR trial is held.

Rensselaer and Dynamic Advances contend that Apple illegally appropriated interactive computer technology issued under the '798 patent to Cheng Hsu and Veera Boonjing and assigned to the Troy college. Apple uses Siri in iPhones, iPads and iPods.

Dynamic Advances was designated by Rensselaer as the exclusive licensee of the communications technology.

Attorneys from Skiermont Puckett in Dallas, Heslin Rothenberg Farley in Albany and Harris Beach in Syracuse are arguing for the plaintiffs. Fenwick & West in San Francisco and Menter, Rudin & Trivelpiece in Syracuse are defending Apple.

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