Posted On: January 13, 2013 by Gregory J. Brodzik

Judge Andrews dismisses plaintiff’s indirect and willful infringement claims in part, with prejudice

Judge Richard G. Andrews recently dismissed with prejudice plaintiff’s claims of indirect and willful infringement of four patents, which “concern ‘thermal power and management’ for ‘computer systems,’” with limited exceptions. IpVenture Inc. v. Lenovo Group Ltd., et al., C.A. No. 11-588-RGA, at 1, 5-6 (D. Del. Jan. 8, 2013). The only indirect and willful infringement claims that Judge Andrews found to survive defendants’ motion to dismiss plaintiff’s Second Amended Complaint were claims for induced and willful infringement after November 28, 2011, the date on which plaintiff served its Amended Complaint upon the defendants currently in the action. Id. at 2, 5-6. Judge Andrews noted that “[t]he Second Amended Complaint is 81 pages long, but the allegations, in material respects, are very similar against all defendants.” Id. at 1-2. In light of the similarity, Judge Andrews explained in detail the sufficiency of the indirect and willful infringement claims with regard to only one defendant, Dell. Id. at 2-5.

Judge Andrews dismissed all contributory infringement claims with prejudice. Id. at 4, 5-6. Judge Andrews explained that while the Second Amended Complaint made a “separate allegation of contributory infringement,” it merely “recite[d] the various elements of contributory infringement without providing any factual support to give context (or, perhaps more importantly, plausibility) to the allegations.” Id. at 4.

Judge Andrews, however, found that the claims of induced and willful infringement after November 28, 2011, survived defendants’ motion to dismiss. Id. at 4-6. Plaintiff failed to sufficiently plead that defendants had knowledge that the allegedly induced acts or its own acts constituted infringement of the patents-in-suit prior to service of the Amended Complaint. See id. Regarding induced infringement, Judge Andrews explained that “[t]o the extent the allegations can be read to allege that the defendant knew that the induced acts constituted patent infringement, that knowledge is wholly unsupported by any factual allegation, other than the knowledge that would have been gained from having this lawsuit served upon [defendant].” Id. at 4. Addressing willful infringement, Judge Andrews similarly found that “there is nothing factual to plausibly support the conclusion that [defendant] ‘acted despite an objectively high likelihood that its actions constituted infringement of a valid patent,’ and that [defendant] knew or should have known that its actions constituted infringement of a valid patent.” Id. at 5. However, “service of the complaint meant that [defendant’s] knowledge of the existence of the patent had been forcefully brought to its attention,” and at that point whether defendant willfully infringed became a “factual question.” Id.

Judge Andrews provided the following rationale in support of his decision to dismiss the indirect and willful infringement claims with prejudice: “I previously dismissed these same allegations, based upon much the same arguments, without prejudice. Plaintiff’s Second Amended Complaint nearly doubled in size from the Amended Complaint, but added almost nothing of substance to what was in the Amended Complaint. Thus, this time, the dismissals will be with prejudice, as it is clear that Plaintiff cannot satisfactorily amend its Complaint.” Id. See here for Judge Andrews’s prior order, in which he dismissed the indirect and willful infringement claims without prejudice.

IpVenture Inc. v. Lenovo Group Ltd., et al., C.A. No. 11-588-RGA (D. Del. Jan. 8, 2013) by YCSTBlog