Acacia Class-Action Hearing Postponed

Gretchen Gallen
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – The adult industry may have bought itself a little more time when it comes to a motion set forth by Acacia Technologies Group to sue the entire adult entertainment industry for patent infringement.

A class certification hearing scheduled for Wednesday between lawyers representing Acacia and defendants New Destiny Internet Group has been delayed.

Lawyers for both parties held a telephonic conference call today in which U.S. District Court Judge James Ware asked the parties if they would be willing to postpone the session.

According to an XBiz source, the judge said he was having trouble defining some of the terms discussed in previous Markman hearings and that an additional motion was under consideration concerning the clarity of some of the claims.

The judge has requested a case management conference to discuss the claims construction and the plaintiff's motion for a class certification.

According to the XBiz source, if some of those terms are rendered invalid, there may not be a class against which the patents can be enforced.

The judge is reportedly still involved in the Markman hearing process and is expected to issue a ruling within the coming weeks. The Markman process recessed on May 20 after two previous hearings in which the judge considered the language and definitions pertaining to Acacia’s five U.S. DMT patents.

In a Markman hearing, a judge determines the meaning of the patent in dispute and rules on the meaning of any disputed terms in the claims of the patent.

Wednesday's hearing, which was scheduled to occur at the U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, Calif., would have allowed oral arguments from both the plaintiffs and the defendants in response to Acacia's motion to establish a class-action lawsuit against the adult industry, which could conceivably include hundreds of companies in a single defense category.

Companies infringing on Acacia's patents are defined as those whose video content can be received in the Central District of California, which encompasses most of Southern California.

The purpose of creating a defendant class is so that Acacia does not have to relitigate certain issues over and over again.

Acacia filed the motion in April naming Cybernet Ventures, parent company of Adult Check, as one of the class representatives through which many more companies could be sued for infringing on Acacia's DMT patents.

The next conference call via telephone has been scheduled for Aug. 17 at 11 a.m. (PST).

Robert Berman, Acacia's executive vice president of business development, and members of the New Destiny Internet Group were not available to comment on the judge's decision to postpone the hearing.