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Judge Sleet Denies Motion to Dismiss or Bifurcate Inequitable Conduct and Antitrust Counterclaims

Judge Sleet recently denied motions to dismiss and bifurcate counterclaims of inequitable conduct and antitrust violations. In response to the plaintiffs’ complaint for patent infringement, the defendant in this case filed an answer that included ten counterclaims. The plaintiff then moved to dismiss or bifurcate counts IX and X of the counterclaims, which were for inequitable conduct and Sherman Act violations. Judge Sleet found, however, that the plaintiff was “improperly seek[ing] to disprove [defendant’s] factual assertions. The court does not analyze the factual disputes raised by [plaintiff], but examines the sufficiency and plausibility of [defendant’s] claims.” F’real Foods, LLC, et al. v. Hamilton Beach Brands, Inc., et al., C.A. No. 16-41-GMS, Order at 2 n.1 (D. Del. June 13, 2016). Specifically, the inequitable conduct claims were adequately plead because the included the “specific who, what, when, where, and how of the material misrepresentation or omission committed before the PTO” as required by Exergen Corp. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and the antitrust violation was adequately plead based on the alleged inequitable conduct and baselessness of the litigation. Id.

F’real Foods, LLC, et al. v. Hamilton Beach Brands, Inc., et al., C.A. No. 16-41-GMS (D. Del. June 13, 2016).

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