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."

Rudolph Technologies, Inc v. Camtek Ltd., 0-15-cv-01246 (MND August 26, 2015, Order) (Montgomery, J.)

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