United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Marshall Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
PAVNE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Xiaohua Huang, acting pro se, sued Huawei Technologies Co.,
LTD. (Huawei) for infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 6, 744,
653, 6, 999, 331, and RE45, 259, which are generally related
to circuits for content addressable memory (CAM). After the
Court granted summary judgment of noninfringement and entered
final judgment, Huawei moved for attorneys' fees under 35
U.S.C. § 285 and under the Court's inherent power.
See Huawei Br., ECF No. 179. For the following
reasons, Huawei's motion is GRANTED.
Huang owns CMOS Micro Device, Inc. (CMOS), a company
headquartered in Silicon Valley. Compl. ¶ 2, ECF No. 1.
According to the complaint, CMOS develops and markets CAM
technology. Id. The patents-in-suit all relate to
CAM circuits and name Mr. Huang as the sole inventor.
See ECF No. 1-1. The Complaint alleges that Huawei
sells products known as “switches” that include
chips covered by the patents-in-suit. Compl. ¶ 3, ECF
initially responded to the lawsuit by emailing Mr. Huang to
request an extension of time to answer the complaint. Li
Pengyan Decl. ¶ 3, Jan. 26, 2017, ECF No. 179-1. A few
days later, Mr. Huang called Huawei's offices in China
and indicated that resolution of the lawsuit was not his
goal. Id. ¶ 4. Rather, Mr. Huang asked for an
offer from Huawei to purchase the patents-in-suit.
Id. Huawei told Mr. Huang that it was not
interested. Id. ¶ 5.
motion practice followed. Mr. Huang's original complaint
was filed both on behalf of Mr. Huang personally and CMOS,
Mr. Huang's company. See Compl., ECF No. 1. But
because Mr. Huang is not licensed to practice law, Huawei
filed a motion to compel CMOS to obtain legal counsel given
the long-standing rule precluding a corporation from
proceeding pro se in federal court. See Rowland v. Calif.
Men's Colony, 506 U.S. 194, 201-02 (1993); Huawei
Mot. 2-3, ECF No. 8. Mr. Huang thereafter filed an amended
complaint on behalf of only himself. See Am. Compl.,
ECF No. 12. Huawei filed additional motions to dismiss, all
of which were ultimately rendered moot by Mr. Huang's
third amended complaint. See Order dated Sept. 21,
2016, ECF No. 103.
six months into discovery, Huawei sent Mr. Huang a Rule 11
safe harbor letter explaining that Mr. Huang's
infringement allegations were baseless. See Huawei
Rule 11 Br. 2, ECF No. 52. Discovery had revealed that Huawei
has never imported into the United States or sold a router or
switch containing the particular type of chip that formed the
basis of Mr. Huang's claim. Id. This Rule 11
motion (in addition to numerous motions filed by Mr. Huang to
compel discovery) prompted the Court to set a hearing on July
became clear during the July hearing that Mr. Huang would not
likely establish a basis for infringement because Mr. Huang
could not access necessary technical details concerning
Huawei's products. See Hr'g Tr. 3-13, Jul.
27, 2016, ECF No. 183. Huawei had properly designated this
technical information “confidential” and
“attorneys' eyes only” under the (agreed)
protective order. See Id. The protective order
precludes Mr. Huang from personally viewing such information
because Mr. Huang designs and markets his own CAM technology
to Huawei's competitors in China. See, e.g.,
Huawei Resp. Br. 1-2, ECF No. 117. Mr. Huang would also
likely be prevented from viewing related third-party product
information that would be necessary to support Mr.
Huang's infringement contentions. See Hr'g
Tr. 3-13, ECF No. 183.
Court explained to Mr. Huang that his pro se status would
likely impair if not prevent a successful opposition to
summary judgment. Id. Mr. Huang expressed a contrary
view. When the Court asked Mr. Huang if he had “any
ideas to offer about how to get around the problem of sharing
confidential information with your side of the case without
an outside lawyer, ” Mr. Huang responded, “In
fact, I do not need to see any so-called confidential
information from Huawei.” Id. 13:19-14:9.
According to Mr. Huang, a contract between Huawei and a
supply company and various Huawei chip model numbers would be
enough. Id. 14:1-9. The Court sought clarification:
“And you're saying that you believe that you can
prove your case with just the model number of the chip and a
copy of the contract between Huawei and [the supply
company]?” Id. 16:7-10. “Yes, your
Honor, that's enough.” Id. 16:11. Mr.
Huang intended to reverse engineer the accused chips, an
endeavor that Mr. Huang acknowledged would be very costly.
Court took Mr. Huang's representations that he did not
require confidential information with caution and stayed the
case for 60 days to allow Mr. Huang time to find legal
counsel, while deferring Huawei's Rule 11 motion.
Id. 26:9-13. Mr. Huang never attempted to hire
counsel as far as the record reflects. Rather, Mr. Huang
proceeded undeterred. Only about two weeks after the July
hearing-while the case was stayed-Mr. Huang began filing
numerous motions to compel Huawei to produce the very type of
information the Court had determined to be properly
designated as “attorneys' eyes only.”
See ECF Nos. 94, 95, 96. Mr. Huang's discovery
motions were denied without prejudice in light of the stay,
see ECF No. 99, prompting Mr. Huang to appeal that
denial to the district judge, see ECF No. 100. The
appeal was unsuccessful. See ECF No. 101. Still
undeterred, Mr. Huang filed another civil action
based on the same asserted patents along with a motion to
consolidate the newly-filed case with the stayed case.
See ECF No. 104; Compl. in Case No. 2:16-cv-947,
Aug. 26, 2016, ECF No. 1.
conclusion of the 60-day stay, Mr. Huang had not obtained
counsel, and Huawei moved for summary judgment. ECF No. 105.
The Court recommended granting summary judgment upon finding
no evidence to support Mr. Huang's infringement claims.
ECF No. 134. After considering Mr. Huang's objections to
that recommendation, the District Judge granted summary
judgment and dismissed Mr. Huang's case. ECF No. 146. Mr.
Huang continued to object to the Court's dismissal Order,
ECF No. 148, 163, and eventually filed a notice of appeal to
the Federal Circuit on January 19, 2017, ECF No. 173.
declaration submitted by Huawei's in house counsel
provides a possible explanation for Mr. Huang's
persistent litigation conduct. Li Pengyan Decl., ECF No.
179-1. Despite having been asked to only communicate with
Huawei through their outside counsel, Mr. Huang has been in
constant contact with Huawei's in house counsel
throughout the case. Id. ¶ 7. Mr. Huang told
Huawei's counsel that he sued Huawei because one of his
(lawyer) friends told him that if he were to represent Mr.
Huang in a lawsuit against Hauwei, the case would quickly
settle for $1.5 million. Id. Mr. Huang said that he
nevertheless decided not to hire an attorney because he did
not want to share revenue with a lawyer. Id. Even
after the Court granted Huawei's motion for summary
judgment and dismissed the case, Mr. Huang told Huawei's
in house counsel that he would continue filing
motions-forcing Huawei to reply and incur further legal fees.
the barrage of documents filed by Mr. Huang are motions and
other papers suggesting that Huawei's corporate
representatives and Huawei's counsel have not been
truthful and that Huawei has engaged in improper behavior.
See, e.g., Huang Mot. for Perjury Charges, Jan. 18,
2017, ECF No. 170. As early as the July hearing, Mr. Huang
began characterizing Huawei's declarations as “not
truthful.” Hr'g Tr. 24:21-23, ECF No. 183. Indeed,
Mr. Huang's response to Huawei's Rule 11 motion was
that “it is completely baseless; and I'm going to
file a motion for Rule 11 to sanction Huawei's improper
[conduct].” Id. 23:14-16. Mr. Huang's
allegations of untruthfulness culminated with a “motion
for perjury charges” filed on January 18, 2017. ECF No.
thereafter filed their motion for attorneys' fees.
See Huawei Br., ECF No. 179. In part because Mr.
Huang continues to represent himself, the Court scheduled a
hearing to determine whether Mr. Huang could explain his
conduct, why he had chosen not to hire an attorney, and why
the Court should not award fees and costs. Mr. Huang appeared
at the hearing but offered no satisfactory explanation for
his litigation conduct. In fact, Mr. Huang continued to
maintain that Huawei's witnesses and lawyers were being
untruthful, and that they were committing perjury. In
response to these accusations, one of Huawei's attorneys
explained that he had personally considered filing a libel or