Friday, January 17, 2014

“Gun Shy” Plaintiff’s Billion Dollar Claim Not Barred by Laches Despite Unreasonable Delay and Evidentiary Prejudice

Following a jury trial, the court found that plaintiff's claims were not barred by laches because of equitable considerations even though defendant suffered evidentiary prejudice by plaintiff's unreasonable delay. "[T]he equities clearly favor [plaintiff], which acted negligently in delaying to enforce its patents against [defendant], rather than [defendant], which copied [plaintiff's] patents consciously and deliberately for an entire decade. Indeed, [defendant's] knowing infringement of [plaintiff's] patents is precisely the type of egregious misconduct which the Federal Circuit has recognized should significantly tip the scales of justice in favor of a patentee and defeat an otherwise well-supported laches defense. . . . [T]his Court does not believe that the record demonstrates that [plaintiff] engaged in predatory behavior by secretly 'lying in wait' to build a billion dollar damages case. . . . [Plaintiff] could be best described as naïve, timid or 'gun shy' and apparently avoided raising the specter of litigation with [defendant] in its initial correspondence and lack of follow-up, possibly because it viewed [defendant] as a potential supporter of its research efforts or employer for its students rather than litigation target."

Carnegie Mellon University v. Marvell Technology Group, Ltd., et al., 2-09-cv-00290 (PAWD January 14, 2014, Order) (Fischer, J.)

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