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Layne Christensen Co. v. Bro-Tech Corp.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 05-16-2012
Case #: 09-2381-JWL
Lungstrum
Full Text Opinion: http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=9625086752809920016&q

Patents: To demonstrate willful infringement, a patentee must show the infringer acted despite an objectively high likelihood it was infringing a valid patent and that the infringer either knew, or the risk was so obvious that it should have known, of the risk it was infringing a valid patent.

Opinion (Lungstrum): Layne Christensen Co. (Layne) and Arup SenGupta sued Bro-Tech Corp., d/b/a Purolite Co., (Purolite) for infringement of its patent no. 7,291,578 (‘578). A jury found Purolite had infringed the patent and had done so willfully. In a post trial motion, Purolite renewed its prior motions for judgement as a matter of law (JMOL) on both infringement and willfulness. The court also considered Layne’s motion for a permanent injunction. The court DENIED Purolite’s motion for JMOL with respect to infringement, finding that there was sufficient evidence, including evidence presented by Purolite, to conclude that the jury’s finding of infringement was not against the weight of the evidence. In consideration of Purolite’s motion for JMOL on the issue of willfulness, the court determined that Purolite had presented strong and reasonable arguments that, combined with the intensely factual nature of the issues, could have supported a jury verdict in favor of either side. Because of the substantial questions Purolite raised regarding its liability for infringement, the court concluded that there was not clear and convincing evidence that Purolite acted despite an objectively high likelihood it was infringing a valid patent. Accordingly, the court GRANTED Purolite’s motion for JMOL on the willfulness issue. In considering Layne’s motion for a permanent injunction, the court applied the four eBay factors, and determined that those factors weighed in favor of GRANTING a permanent injunction for Layne to mitigate irreparable injury.