Monday, May 23, 2011

Rule 11 sanctions motion directed to original complaint denied where plaintiff filed an amended complaint

eWinWin has sued Groupon for patent infringement relating to a number of patents here in the Middle District. Groupon responded with a number of counterclaims, and sent a Rule 11 safe harbor letter. eWinWin responded by offering to amend its complaint to remove some of the asserted patents from the litigation, narrow some of the asserted claims, and assert another patent that issued after the case had begun. Groupon would not consent. After the Rule 11 safe harbor period elapsed, Groupon filed its motion for sanctions. eWinWin then asked for leave to file its amended complaint. Judge Bucklew granted that leave. Today, she also denied Groupon's motion for sanctions:
In the instant motion for Rule 11 sanctions, Groupon alleges that the four counts asserted in eWinWin’s original complaint are frivolous and unsupportable. However, the amended complaint is substantially different from the original complaint in that eWinWin withdrew the infringement claims of two previously asserted patents, narrowed the infringement claims in another previously asserted patent, and added claims of infringement of a newly issued patent to the action. Because eWinWin’s amended complaint is substantially different from the original complaint and because Groupon’s motion for Rule 11 sanctions is based on the original complaint, the Court denies Groupon’s Rule 11 motion for sanctions without prejudice.
eWinWin v. Groupon, slip op., Case No. 8:10-cv-02678 (M.D. Fla. May 23, 2011) (J. Bucklew)