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Judge Andrews Grants Leave to Add Inequitable Conduct Claim

The Defendant sought leave to file an amended answer and counterclaims adding a claim of inequitable conduct based on an allegedly undisclosed inventor. The motion for leave was filed several months after the December 15, 2015 scheduling order deadline for amendment of pleadings, meaning that the Defendant needed to show “good cause” for the amendment. Although the allegedly undisclosed inventor, Dr. Chu, had initial been disclosed as a person who may have knowledge of products embodying the asserted patent in early 2015, Dr. Chu was not issued a subpoena or deposed until over a year later in May and June of 2016. Judge Andrews found it “fair to say that the [February 2015] ‘initial disclosures’ do not suggest Dr. Chu as a person who as involved in the invention.” E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. v. Unifrax I LLC, C.A. No. 14-1250-RGA, Memo. Or. at 1-2 (D. Del. Oct. 7, 2016).

The Plaintiff pointed to several documents that were produced in June 2015 and would have allegedly shown the Defendant at that time that Dr. Chu was involved in product development. But Judge Andrews reviewed the documents and found “they did not show anything that would suggest Dr. Chu was an inventor” but rather only “Dr. Chu being involved in testing and experimentation at Plaintiff’s direction and request.” Id. at 2-3. Therefore, Judge Andrews concluded:

I would tend to agree with Plaintiff that the cited documents do not support the proposed counterclaim. Perhaps this will be a problem for Defendant down the road, but, at this juncture, it does support Defendant’s argument that Defendant has good cause not to have asserted the counterclaim until Dr. Chu was deposed, and provided the basis upon which Defendant now relies. I do not think the cited documents put Defendant on notice that Dr. Chu was an important witness. Defendant’s motion for leave to amend followed without undue delay after Dr. Chu’s deposition was concluded. Therefore, I find good cause and will grant Defendant’s motion.

Id. at 3.

E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. v. Unifrax I LLC, C.A. No. 14-1250-RGA (D. Del. Oct. 7, 2016).

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