In Crown Packaging Technology, et al. v. Rexam Beverage Can Co., C.A. No. 05-608-MPT, D. Del. Jan. 15, 2010, Magistrate Judge Thynge recently granted counterclaim-defendant Crown’s motion for summary judgment based on laches. This case returned to Judge Thynge after the Federal Circuit reversed the Court’s grant of Rexam’s summary judgment motion of noninfringement and the Court’s grant of Crown’s motion for summary judgment for failure to mark, thereby dismissing Rexam’s counterclaim. Id. at 2. After the parties stipulated to dismiss Crown’s claim of infringement, the only issue remaining in dispute was Rexam’s counterclaim of infringement. Id. at 3.
The parties are in the business of manufacturing and selling aluminum cans. Pursuant to its summary judgment motion, Crown argued that Rexam impermissibly delayed in filing its counterclaim because more than six years had passed between any infringement and the filing. Id. at 12. Finding in Crown’s favor, the court noted that “[a]lthough can manufacturing is squarely within Rexam’s field of endeavor, a field populated by very few competitors, and Crown’s activities in that field were open, pervasive, and notorious, Rexam never undertook any investigation of the circumstances associated with Crown’s alleged infringing activities. . . . Further, because Rexam delayed more than six years before filing its counterclaim, this court presumes that the delay was both unreasonable and prejudicial.” Id. at 17 (emphasis in original). Furthermore, Rexam failed to produce sufficient evidence that its delay was reasonable or whether any prejudice exists. Id. at 18-21.