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“Reasonable apprehension of suit” test inconsistent with Federal Circuit Precedent

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In another District of Delaware decision addressing declaratory judgment jurisdiction post-MedImmune, Judge Farnan found declaratory judgment defendant ON Semiconductor’s argument that the “reasonable apprehension of suit” test was not overruled by MedImmune unpersuasive. Samsung Elecs. Co. v. ON Semiconductor Corp., C.A. No. 06-720-JJF, Memo. Op. (D. Del. April 3, 2008). The Court found that recent Federal Circuit case law including Micron Tech., Inc. v. Mosaid Tech., Inc. (opinion here) and SanDisk Corp. v. STMicroelectronics Inc. (opinion here) has made clear that the Supreme Court’s decision in MedImmune rejects the reasonable apprehension of suit test. Id. at 9-10.

ON Semiconductor’s course of conduct, including letters accusing Samsung of infringement and their analysis of potential infringement by Samsung and Samsung’s continued position that the patents are invalid and not infringed during the course of licensing discussions demonstrated evidence of a “substantial controversy” sufficient to warrant jurisdiction over the dispute. Id.at 10. The fact that the licensing negotiations were continuing “is not dispositive with regard to the existence of an actual controversy.” Id.

Citing the EMC Corporation decision from the Federal Circuit, ON Semiconductor also argued that even if the Court can exercise declaratory judgment jurisdiction it should dismiss the action because licensing negotiations are still ongoing and their is still the potential for a non-legal resolution. Id.at 12. Judge Farnan declined to dismiss the action, however, stating that the record evidence demonstrated that when Samsung filed the complaint the parties’ negotiations were at an impasse and ON had made clear its willingness to pursue other routes for enforcing its legal rights. Id.

Samsung Elecs. Co. v. ON Semiconductor Corp., C.A. No. 06-720-JJF, Memo. Op. (D. Del. Apr. 3, 2008).

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