Gilstrap Seeks to Avoid a “Legal Quagmire” by Extending Willful Blindness to Willful Infringement…Just Before the Voluntary Dismissal of the Underlying Suit

October 9, 2019

Late last month, District Judge Rodney Gilstrap denied a motion, brought by defendant HTC, challenging, among other things, the specificity with which Motiva Patents, LLC pleaded the knowledge elements within its claims of indirect and willful infringement. Judge Gilstrap ruled that the plaintiff adequately pleads “willful blindness” in satisfaction of the knowledge requirements for inducement of infringement, contributory infringement, and willful infringement, all based on allegations in the complaint that HTC adopted a “policy or practice of not reviewing the patents of others” and “performed specific acts to implement and enforce” that policy: “Since Motiva has alleged that HTC has such a specific policy—a policy prohibiting review of patents—Motiva has plausibly alleged that HTC was willfully blind”. The late September ruling came just before a separate HTC motion challenging subject matter jurisdiction, prompting Motiva Patents to voluntarily dismiss the case last Sunday and triggering a race back to the courthouse, with the NPE refiling the next day in the Eastern District of Texas (9:19-cv-00181) and HTC filing a complaint seeking declaratory judgments of noninfringement from the Northern District of California (3:19-cv-06373).

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