In Vehicle Interface Technologies, LLC v. Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC, C. A. No. 14-339-RGA (D. Del. Aug. 6, 2014), Judge Richard G. Andrews recently denied defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s complaint. In a prior action between the parties, plaintiff had named additional accused products toward the close of fact discovery; this Court had granted defendant’s request to preclude these additional products from the suit, and on the same day plaintiff filed a new lawsuit including these additional accused products. Id. at 1. Defendant now moved to dismiss this second lawsuit, arguing plaintiff was barred by the doctrine of claim splitting and because the suit was a collateral attack on the Court’s previous order. Id.
In denying the motion as to claim splitting, the Court pointed out that, in the prior suit, defendant “previously relied on the differences between the accused products” to argue plaintiff could not add them, whereas now it pointed out the “similarities between the Plaintiff’s description of the products in the initial and present suit.” Id. at 2 (emphasis added). The Court explained that “[t]his Court denied the Plaintiff’s attempt to amend its [infringement contentions] because the Defendant argued that functional differences between the previously accused product and the newly accused products would cause it undue prejudice. The Defendant cannot have its cake and eat it too. The Court thus does not find the doctrine of claim splitting to bar the current claim against the Defendant.” Id. at 2-3.
As to the collateral attack argument, the Court did not interpret cases cited by defendant as barring plaintiff’s suit because the cases were factually distinguishable. See id. at 3-5. Instead, “[t]he Court’s previous order precluding the Plaintiff from amending its [infringement contentions] was applicable to that case only. The cases cited by the Defendant involve situations where the second action would have the effect of reversing the court’s decision in previous cases. This is not the case here. It therefore follows that this Court does not find the Plaintiff’s current action to be an impermissible collateral attack.” Id. at 5.