By Memorandum Order entered by The Honorable Richard G. Andrews in Malvern Panalytical, Inc. v. TA Instruments-Waters, LLC et al., Civil Action No. 19-2157-RGA (D.Del., May 5, 2020), the Court granted Defendants’ partial motion to dismiss in part by dismissing the willfulness and contributory infringement claims asserted in Plaintiff’s amended complaint.
Plaintiff’s amended complaint asserts five (5) patents and identifies the accused products by name. Id. at *1. Defendants filed a partial motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s amended complaint asserting, among other things, that Plaintiff did not sufficiently allege willfulness as to the asserted patents and any contributory and/or induced infringement claims. Id.
Upon evaluation, the Court found that, although it was a close call, Plaintiff did not sufficiently allege willfulness as to the two (2) Plotnikov patents that are asserted. Id. The Court also found that Plaintiff did not sufficiently allege willfulness as to the three (3) Broga patents asserted. Id. In fact, “other than the assertion that Plaintiff and Defendants are competitors in a two-player industry, there are no factual assertions that begin to suggest, prior to the filing of the complaint, [Defendants had] actual knowledge as to the Broga patents.” Thus, the Court dismissed the willfulness claims with leave to amend in accordance with the scheduling order.
With respect to the alleged contributory infringement claims, the Court found that they appear to be nothing more than “meaningless additional boilerplate.” Id. at *2. Plaintiff failed to assert a plausible contributory infringement theory. Specifically, “[e]ach of the accused products is not alleged, as is required by 35 U.S.C. § 271(c), to be a ‘component’ that a customer uses as part of some other system that infringes or as a ‘material or apparatus for use in practicing a patented process.’” Id. Thus, the Court also dismissed the contributory infringement claims.
The Court denied the partial motion to dismiss with respect to the induced infringement claims after finding that it was sufficient at the pleading stage for Plaintiff to plausibly allege the ‘induced” part of induced infringement by alleging that Defendants (1) had actual knowledge of the asserted patents since the filing of the original complaint, and (2) provides product literature that instructs customers how to use the accused products in an infringing manner. Id.
A copy of the Court’s Memorandum Order is attached.