Rudolph Technologies, Inc v. Camtek Ltd., 0-15-cv-01246 (MND August 26, 2015, Order) (Montgomery, J.)
Friday, August 28, 2015
Failure to Show Nexus Between Patented Invention and Alleged Harm Precludes Preliminary Injunction
The court denied plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction to preclude defendant from selling its accused semiconductor inspection products because plaintiff failed to establish irreparable harm based on incumbency/vendor lock-in. "[Plaintiff'] argument of irreparable harm without an injunction is focused on 'incumbency' or vendor lock-in—the idea that customers who purchase [the accused product] will be unlikely to switch to a [plaintiff's] product because of the substantial switching costs. . . . [Plaintiff] has failed to proffer any customer based evidence — either directly from a customer or in survey form — indicating that the [patent-in-suit] influences customers’ purchasing decisions or makes the product significantly more desirable. . . . [T]hese systems have numerous features permitting inspection of increasingly smaller components. Because of this complexity, the causal nexus requirement is not easily satisfied. Also cutting against [plaintiff's] causal nexus arguments is the sizable price difference of the [accused] and [plaintiff's] systems [$2.8 million and $4.4 million.]. . . While price always influences purchasing decisions, the sizeable disparity here suggests price difference would play a significant role in the purchase decision."