Malibu Boats, LLC v. MasterCraft Boat Company LLC (TV1), 3-16-cv-00082 (TNED October 28, 2016, Order) (Varlan, USDJ)
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Willfulness Claim May be Based on Advanced Notice of Imminent Patent Issuance
The court denied defendant's motion to dismiss plaintiff's claims for willful infringement and enhanced damages because plaintiff filed suit on the day its patent-in-suit issued. "In its complaint, [plaintiff] alleges several instances in which [defendant] had 'advance notice' of [the patent's] issuance. . . . Furthermore, the fact that these same parties are currently involved in litigation involving the alleged infringement of another . . . patent relating to the same application could conceivably contribute to a finding of willfulness. Taking [plaintiff's] allegations as true, the Court cannot say that it is implausible that [defendant] had knowledge of the patent at the time that the alleged infringement began and [plaintiff] filed suit. . . . Unlike a mere patent application, a Notice of Allowance, and particularly an Issue Notification, are strong indications that the patent will issue."