Courtesy Products L.L.C. v. Hamilton Beach Brands, Inc., C.A. No. 13-2012–SLR-SRF, October 20, 2015.
Fallon, M. J. Report and Recommendation recommending that defendant’s motion to dismiss willful infringement claims be denied and that plaintiff’s partial motion to dismiss and strike inequitable conduct counterclaims and defenses be granted in part.
The disputed technology relates to disposable brew basket technology for electric coffee makers. Plaintiff asserts that it sufficiently pleaded objective recklessness by alleging defendant had pre-suit knowledge of a patent, sold infringing products and instructed its clients on the use of the infringing products. The court agrees, finding attempts to distinguish this case from other Delaware case law nonavailing. Allegations of defendant having executed a license to practice claims of the patent-in-suit provided a sufficient link between knowledge of the patent and objective recklessness. With respect to inequitable conduct, defendant’s allegations sufficiently identified the who, what, when, where, and how of misrepresentations. However, the defendant has failed to sufficiently plead but-for materiality, and the court recommends granting plaintiff’s motion to dismiss defendant’s inequitable conduct counterclaim and affirmative defense. The court further found it is reasonable to infer intent to deceive the patent office. The court recommends that defendant be permitted to file an amended pleading. A motion seeking dismissal of an antitrust counterclaim is reserved for Judge Robinson.