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White Knuckle IP, LLC v. Electronic Arts Inc.

United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division

November 17, 2017

WHITE KNUCKLE IP, LLC, a Utah limited liability company, Plaintiff,
v.
ELECTRONIC ARTS INC., a Delaware corporation, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING [161] PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO DISMISS AND FINDING [55] DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS MOOT

          DAVID NUFFER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff White Knuckle IP, LLC (“White Knuckle”) filed a Motion to Dismiss for Mootness (the “Motion to Dismiss”)[1] seeking to voluntarily dismiss its claim against defendant Electronic Arts Inc. (“EA”) for infringement of U.S. Patent No. 8, 529, 350 (the “'350 Patent”) and to dismiss EA's counterclaims for declaratory judgment on patent non-infringement and invalidity. EA responded to the Motion to Dismiss (“EA's Response”), [2] in which EA objected to how attorneys' fees and costs were resolved in White Knuckle's proposed order but did not otherwise oppose the Motion to Dismiss. Based on the Motion to Dismiss, EA's Response, and for good cause appearing, the court finds:

         1. According to its title, the ‘350 Patent concerns a “Method and System for Increased Realism in Video Games.”[3]

         2. White Knuckle sued EA for patent infringement of the ‘350 Patent.[4]

         3. EA asserted two claims for declaratory judgment as to non-infringement and invalidity of the ‘350 Patent.[5]

         4. EA filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings arguing that the ‘350 Patent is not patentable.[6]

         5. The case was stayed pending an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and an Inter Partes Review by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board on the ‘350 Patent, [7] following the conclusion of which the stay was lifted.[8]

         6. White Knuckle seeks to cease litigation against EA on the ‘350 Patent.[9]Accordingly, White Knuckle executed a Unilateral Covenant Not to Sue (the “Unilateral Covenant”).[10]

         7. The Unilateral Covenant includes a broad promise not to assert patent infringement against EA on the ‘350 Patent:

[White Knuckle] unconditionally and irrevocably covenants not to assert patent infringement (including direct infringement, contributory infringement, and inducing infringement) against EA and its predecessors, successors, assigns, parents, subsidiaries, affiliated and related companies (collectively the “EA Entities”) under the ‘350 Patent based upon their making, using, manufacturing, development, design, marketing, licensing, distributing, importing, offering for sale, or selling of any of their products and services as they exist today or have existed in the past or may exist in the future.[11]

         8. Based on the Unilateral Covenant, White Knuckle cannot assert patent infringement against EA under the ‘350 Patent now or in the future.[12]

         9. This action no longer presents a “Case” or “Controversy” for purposes of Article III because “the issues presented are no longer ‘live' or the parties lack a legally cognizable interest in the outcome.”[13]

         10. EA does not oppose dismissal.[14] However, EA asserts a right to attorneys' fees and costs under 35 U.S.C. § 285 and sanctions under Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.[15] EA has filed a Motion for Rule 11 Sanctions.[16]

         11. The Motion for Rule 11 Sanctions and any claims for attorneys' fees and costs under 35 U.S.C. § 285 may be addressed ...


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