By Memorandum Opinion entered by The Honorable Leonard P. Stark in Magnetar Technologies Corp, et al. v. Six Flags Theme Parks Inc., et al., Civil Action No. 07-127-LPS (D.Del., February 18, 2011), the Court denied the motion for leave to amend answer to add a counterclaim filed by defendants Busch Entertainment Corp., Cedar Fair L.P., Paramount Parks, Inc., Knotts Berry Farm, Kings Island Company and Cedar Fair (collectively, “Defendants”). By way of background, Plaintiffs brought this action alleging that Defendants infringed U.S. Patent Nos. 5,277,125 and 6,659,237. Both patents-in-suit pertain to magnetic braking systems for rail cars, particularly rail cars used on roller coasters. Id. at 1. Defendants sought leave to amend their Answer in order to add a counterclaim against Plaintiffs for violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2. Plaintiffs contested Defendants’ motion to amend asserting, among other things, that the proposed amendments were futile, failed to state a claim for relief under the Sherman Act, and Plaintiffs’ actions in bringing the lawsuit and contacting other amusement park operators to advise them that they potentially infringe the patents-in-suit are actions that are immune from antitrust liability under the Noerr-Pennington doctrine.
After analyzing Defendants’ proposed amendment in the form of a counterclaim, the Court found that Defendants’ proposed counterclaim was barred by the Noerr-Pennington doctrine and did not fall within the two recognized exceptions to Noerr-Pennington immunity: sham litigation or knowing and willful fraud (a/k/a Walker Process fraud). Id. at 5-6. As a result, the Court denied Defendants’ motion to amend to add a counterclaim. Id. at 6.
A complete copy of the Memorandum Opinion is atached hereto.