Bloomberg Law®, an integrated legal research and business intelligence solution, combines trusted news and analysis with cutting-edge technology to provide legal professionals tools to be...
Reiffin v. Microsoft Corp., No. 11-CV-03505, 2011 BL 275803 (N.D. Cal Oct. 26, 2011) In a patent infringement suit against Microsoft, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed plaintiff's motion to file a new suit to vacate a prior judgment under Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 60(d)(3), finding plaintiff's claims had been previously litigated.
Microsoft's Multi-Threading Software PatentsIn 1998, Martin Reiffin brought suit against Microsoft Corporation, alleging Microsoft's spelling and grammar checker infringed his U.S. Patent Nos. 5,694,603(the '603 patent) and 5,694,604 (the '604 patent), both relating to multi-threading software. The '603 and '604 patents share a common specification. The court granted Microsoft's motion for partial summary judgment of invalidity, finding the '603 patent, and by extension the '604 patent, lacked adequate written description. Additionally, claims 1-83 of the '604 patent were finally rejected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office following reexamination. Denying Reiffin's motion for reconsideration of summary judgment, the district court ordered the parties to file a joint proposed form of judgment. The parties entered a stipulated judgment on the merits, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed. The district court denied Reiffin's motion to vacate judgment based on "fraud on the court" under Fed R. Civ. Pro. 60(b), finding the judgment was based on the parties' agreement, and the allegations were time-barred. Reiffin then filed the instant suit to vacate the prior judgment under Rule. 60(d)(3) against Microsoft Corp., William Gates, and Steven Ballmer (collectively, "Microsoft"), alleging the defendants made eight "knowingly false" assertions during the prior litigation.
New Trial Barred by Res JudicataThe district court granted Microsoft's motion to dismiss Reiffin's motion for a new trial, finding the claims were barred by res judicata. Under Rule 60(d)(3), "fraud on the court" is narrowly defined to "embrace only that species of fraud which does or attempts to, defile the court itself, or is a fraud perpetrated by officers of the court so that the judicial machinery can not perform in the usual manner." Reiffin at 4 (quoting Alexander v. Robertson, 882 F.2d 421, 424 (9th Cir. 1989) (internal citations omitted)). Furthermore, the court clarified that res judicata bars parties from re-litigating issues that were or could have been litigated. The court rejected Reiffin's assertions that his prior claims of fraud were erroneously found to be time-barred, finding the Rule 60(d)(3) action was precluded by res judicata, regardless of the prior decision. Moreover, the court emphasized that Reiffin should have challenged the prior order on appeal. The district court found that several of Reiffin's allegations of fraud were based on the construction of the terms "interrupt" and "preemptive." Finding that Reiffin had ample opportunity to construe the claims, the court held that claim preclusion barred Reiffin from making these assertions again. Further, the court found that Reiffin addressed certain representations made by Microsoft regarding interruption and preemption of its checker in the prior litigation. Additionally, the court rejected Reiffin's allegation that Microsoft committed fraud by submitting a declaration from an expert who was not an expert on "multi-threading," finding Reiffin had the opportunity to challenge the validity of the expert's credentials. Finally, the court held that Reiffin failed to establish that Microsoft's "arguably derogatory" statement that Reiffin "stole" multi-threading sufficiently disrupted the judicial process to warrant relief. Id. at 9. DisclaimerThis document and any discussions set forth herein are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice, which has to be addressed to particular facts and circumstances involved in any given situation. Review or use of the document and any discussions does not create an attorney-client relationship with the author or publisher. To the extent that this document may contain suggested provisions, they will require modification to suit a particular transaction, jurisdiction or situation. Please consult with an attorney with the appropriate level of experience if you have any questions. Any tax information contained in the document or discussions is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for purposes of avoiding penalties imposed under the United States Internal Revenue Code. Any opinions expressed are those of the author. The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. and its affiliated entities do not take responsibility for the content in this document or discussions and do not make any representation or warranty as to their completeness or accuracy.©2014 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All rights reserved. Bloomberg Law Reports ® is a registered trademark and service mark of The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)