Federal Circuit Affirms Order Compelling Arbitration and Dismissing Declaratory Judgment Action

Held: Technology license agreement requiring arbitration conducted under California Code of Civil Procedure (CCCP) delegates the question of arbitrability to arbitrator

ROHM USA, a subsidiary of ROHM Japan, filed a complaint for declaratory judgment of noninfringement of four MaxPower patents in the Northern District of California and four inter partes review petitions concerning those same patents before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. MaxPower filed a motion to compel arbitration in the district court case based on an agreement with ROHM Japan to arbitrate “[a]ny dispute, controversy, or claim arising out of or in relation to this Agreement or at law, or the breach, termination, or validity thereof” “in accordance with the provisions of the California Code of Civil Procedure.” The district court granted MaxPower’s motion to compel arbitration and dismissed the case without prejudice, reasoning that the TLA “unmistakably delegate[s] the question of arbitrability to the arbitrator.”

The Federal Circuit affirmed, stating that none of ROHM USA’s arguments were convincing and that “some border on the frivolous.”