Ansell Healthcare Products LLC v. Reckitt Benckiser LLC, 1-15-cv-00915 (DED January 30, 2018, Order) (Andrews, USDJ)
Thursday, February 1, 2018
Willful Blindness Alone Does Not Show Egregious Behavior Necessary for Willful Infringement Claim
The court granted defendant's motion for summary judgment that it did not willfully infringe plaintiff's condom patents because plaintiff failed to establish egregious behavior pre- or post-suit. "[A]t oral argument, [plaintiff] agreed that willful blindness at most establishes 'knowledge,' rather than egregious behavior. . . . [I]nsofar as willful blindness does apply in willful infringement cases, it only substitutes for actual knowledge, as opposed to egregious behavior. Because a party's pre-suit knowledge of a patent is not by itself sufficient to show egregious behavior, willful blindness is also not sufficient. . . . [Plaintiff] does not allege that [defendant] had knowledge of, or was willfully blind to, the patents-in-suit at the time [plaintiff] alleges [defendant] failed to comply with [its patent clearance] internal policy. This is the only conduct which could conceivably raise a disputed issue of material fact about [defendant's] willfulness. Therefore, [plaintiff's] allegations of willful infringement rely on actions taken when the prerequisite of knowledge is missing."