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Communications Test Design, Inc. v. Contec, LLC

No Reversible Error in Dismissal of DJ Complaint Brought While Filer Was Purportedly in Licensing Discussions

Communications Test Design, Inc. v. Contec, LLC, __ F.3d __, 2020 WL 1222829 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 13, 2020) (O’MALLEY, Mayer, Wallach) (E.D. Pa.: Pappert) (3 of 5 stars)

Fed Cir affirms dismissal of CTDI’s declaratory judgment complaint. The district court did not abuse its discretion when it dismissed based on equitable considerations. The opinion describes the district court’s determination that CTDI, which had filed while still negotiating with Contec and while claiming to be open to further negotiation, possessed a “nefarious motive” for the suit, and that its conduct was “inconsistent with the policy of promoting extrajudicial dispute resolution[.]” Op. at 6. The decision was not abuse of discretion as to either the district court’s discretion to entertain a request for declaratory judgment or its discretion when applying the “first-to-file” rule.

KEYWORDS: DECLARATORY JUDGMENT; FIRST TO FILE; ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION