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Judge Kent Jordan Denies “Meritless” Cross-Motions for Summary Judgment

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In this decision, Judge Jordan denied both parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment regarding inequitable conduct. The Court reasoned that because the materiality of the prior art references and the intent of the patentee are “hotly contested,” summary judgment was inappropriate on the present record.

Judge Jordan went on in this opinion to make some general comments about motions for summary judgment. He stated: “Here, as sometimes happens, the parties have moved for summary judgment when it is plain that neither side can meet the requirements of Rule 56.” Describing the cross-motions as “meritless,” Judge Jordan was perplexed that Ampex listed thirty-seven disputed issues of fact when opposing the other side’s summary judgment motion, but then filed its own motion for summary judgment that there was no inequitable conduct.

The lesson from this case is to make sure your arguments to the Court on an issue are consistent, if possible. In addition, litigants in Delaware should carefully decide whether to present arguments to the Court on summary judgment (especially in bench trials), for fear of losing the Court’s confidence and agitating the Court.

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