Richards Layton & Finger
 

Judge Sleet Denies Requests for Leave to File Motions for Summary Judgment

April 13, 2017

In Green Mountain Glass, LLC et al. v. Saint-Gobain Containers, Inc., C.A. No. 14-392-GMS (D. Del. February 24, 2017), Judge Sleet denied the plaintiffs’ request for leave to file four partial motions for summary judgment and the defendant’s request for leave to file a motion for summary judgment. The plaintiffs sought leave to file: (1) a motion for partial summary judgment of infringement of one of the patents in suit (“Patent 1”); (2) a motion for partial summary judgment that Patent 1 was not invalid under 35 U.S.C. §§ 102, 103, or 112; (3) a motion for partial summary judgment that the other patent in suit (“Patent 2”) was not invalid under 35 U.S.C. §§ 102, 103, or 112; and (4) a motion for partial summary judgment that the defendant’s affirmative defenses failed as a matter of law. The defendant sought leave to file one motion for summary judgment of laches.

Judge Sleet denied the plaintiffs’ requests. First, Judge Sleet held that the plaintiffs “fail[ed] to set forth a compelling argument for summary judgment” of infringement of Patent 1, as there were competing experts raising genuine issues of material fact. Judge Sleet further found that there were remaining contested issues of material fact relevant to the validity of both Patent 1 and Patent 2 precluding summary judgment. Finally, Judge Sleet held that the defendant’s “affirmative defenses do appear to have factual support . . . and factual disputes remain with regard to those defenses.”

On the defendant’s motion, Judge Sleet found the defendant’s argument “unavailing.” He found that while the presumption of laches may apply, the plaintiffs raised a genuine issue of material fact as to whether that presumption could be overcome. Overall, he found the laches issues more appropriate for determination by the fact finder after all evidence was presented.

Key Points: Judge Sleet is not inclined to allow motions for summary judgment if it appears issues of fact will be raised.