Judge Robinson grants motion for leave to amend induced infringement claim
Judge Sue L. Robinson recently granted plaintiff’s motion for leave to amend its complaint in E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co. v. Heraeus Precious Metals North America Conshohocken LLC, C.A. No. 11-773-SLR (D. Del. Aug. 8, 2013). The patent-in-suit relates to the manufacture of solar cells.
The Court had previously dismissed plaintiff’s induced infringement claim because plaintiff did not sufficiently allege specific intent to induce infringement or knowledge of infringement. Id. at 2. Plaintiff now moved to amend its complaint to cure these deficiencies. Id. “Defendant's sole dispute relate[d] to whether plaintiff's proposed amendment claims pre-suit induced infringement,” as plaintiff had originally only asserted a claim for prospective relief. Id. at 3. “To fix this alleged deficiency, defendant submits that plaintiff's proposed amendment be expressly time-limited in every sentence asserting an element of its induced infringement claim by adding ‘since the date [defendant] has been on notice of the [patent-in-suit].’” Id. (internal citations omitted).
The Court concluded that plaintiff’s proposed amendments sufficiently corrected deficiencies in the original claim, but also that these amendments did not allege that defendant knew of the patent earlier than the date of the complaint’s filing. Id. at 4-5. Therefore plaintiff’s claim was limited to the time period beginning at the filing of its complaint. Id. But “[d]efendant's argument that every sentence in the complaint alleging an element of induced infringement must indicate this temporal limitation [was] repetitive and unnecessary.” Id. at 5.