(CN) - A technology company under fire for patent infringement can't be protected from future patent lawsuits based on the relationship between the patent holders and its attorneys, the Court of Federal Claims ruled.
Avocent Redmond Corp. sued the United States, alleging the unlawful use of its patented keyboard-video-mouse (KVM) switch technology.
Rose Electronics joined the case as a defendant intervenor, because Avocent had filed a similar suit against Rose in the U.S. district court in Seattle.
Both sides asked the Court of Federal Claims for protective orders. The difference was that Rose's proposed order would prevent Avocent's attorneys who receive discovery documents for "attorneys' eyes only" from prosecuting KVM patent cases for a year after the close of the Rose litigation.
Judge Margolis ruled that Rose failed to support its case that Avocent could use the confidential information that Rose would provide during discovery.
While the attorneys and Avocent have worked together for 10 years, "none of these facts support the conclusion that Avocent's lawyers are engaged in competitive decision-making for Avocent."
However, in a related decision, Judge Margolis refused to allow Avocent's motion to strike all of Rose's defenses in the patent-infringement case.
Margolis allowed Rose's defense that its products did not violate Avocent's patent, along with the defense that the Court of Federal Claims lacks jurisdiction.
But the judge agreed with Avocent that Rose could not reserve the right to bring additional defenses. Margolis also struck down Rose's request for money.
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