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Judge Robinson Denies Motion to Dismiss Joint Infringement Claims, Grants as to Willful Infringement Claims

Judge Robinson recently considered a defendant’s motion in a patent infringement case to dismiss claims of joint and willful infringement. With regard to joint infringement, the question presented was whether the plaintiff had adequately pled joint liability based on an agency relationship between two defendants who were corporate parent and subsidiary. The complaint made allegations regarding the corporate structure and operations of the defendant, Toshiba. Judge Robinson found the allegations of infringement based on agency sufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss, taking “plaintiffs’ factual allegations as true, especially where, as here, the information resides with defendants who, in turn, have provided only a general denial of infringement rather than facts about the organization and relationships between the various defendant entities.” Intellectual Ventures I LLC, et al. v. Toshiba Corp., et al., C.A. No. 13-453-SLR, Memo. Op. at 4-6 (D. Del. Sept. 3, 2014).

Judge Robinson granted, however, the motion to dismiss as to allegations of willful infringement. Her Honor explained that “all the information relating to notice is in the hands of plaintiffs and it is a matter of public knowledge that plaintiffs own hundreds of patents, [therefore] a general allegation about ‘discussions’ or ‘a presentation’ is insufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss. Moreover, notice of the infringement risk via the letter written only one day before the complaint was filed does not constitute a showing of objective recklessness on the part of the defendants.” Id. at 8.

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