Chief Judge Sleet: Plaintiff's Motion to Dismiss Defendant's Counterclaims and Affirmative Defenses GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART; Motion to Strike Inequitable Conduct Defense DENIED
In U.S. Philips Corp. v. Samsung Electronics Co., C.A. No. 09-692 GMS (D. Del. Mar. 25, 2011), Chief Judge Sleet recently decided plaintiff’s motions to dismiss several counterclaims and affirmative defenses and to strike defendant's inequitable conduct defense. Judge Sleet granted plaintiff’s motion to dismiss defendant’s time-barred fraud and negligent misrepresentation counterclaims. Id. at 1-2. Although defendant attempted to avoid the statute of limitations by limiting damages to “litigation expenses incurred in connection with defending this action[,]” Judge Sleet held that defendant cannot “circumvent the usual rules governing litigation expenses by recasting those expenses as the sole basis for damages in its fraud and negligent misrepresentation counterclaims.” Id. at 2-3. However, Judge Sleet denied plaintiff’s motion to strike or dismiss defendant’s affirmative defenses in light of “the well-established rule that affirmative defenses are not ordinarily subject to the statute of limitations so long as they are properly pled and arise from the same transaction as the claims in the original complaint.” Id. at 3. Finally, Judge Sleet denied plaintiff’s motion to strike defendant’s inequitable conduct allegations as insufficiently pled, declining to rule, “[a]t this early stage in the proceedings,” “on whether specific documents are prior art or otherwise make determinations as to the materiality or relevance of particular documents.” Id. at 5.