Intentionally ignoring competitors’ patents is not a valid shield against claims of willful infringement, according to a recent ruling in the Eastern District of Texas. Jeffrey Whittle, Managing Partner of Womble Bond Dickinson’s Houston office, provided analysis on the ruling to Law360.
The ruling, delivered in Motiva Patents, LLC v. HTC Corporation, saw Motiva claim that HTC willfully infringed on five patents related to virtual reality devices. However, HTC officials claimed they could not have willfully infringed upon Motiva’s patents. The company allegedly has a policy prohibiting its employees from reading other companies’ patents.
But the Eastern District Court found this policy not only failed to provide HTC with a valid defense, it opened the door for support of Motiva’s assertions that HTC willfully infringed upon Motiva’s patents.
“What the court was saying is, you did nothing and you purposefully did nothing,” Whittle tells Law360. “I think that’s what bothered Judge (Rodney) Gilstrap.”
Also, click here to read a Womble Bond Dickinson client alert on the Motiva v. HTC ruling , written by Kristin Lamb, Mark Shelley and Jeffrey Whittle.
Jeffrey Whittle provides over two decades of legal experience to clients in the energy and high tech industries. He advises on strategic and complex technology transactions, licensing, patent protection, portfolio analysis, and other contentious and transactional intellectual property matters including inter partes reexaminations, post-grant reviews, and derivation proceedings, among other disputed cases. Whittle leads Womble Bond Dickinson’s International IP Energy Group and serves as Managing Partner of the firm’s Houston office.