Richards Layton & Finger
 

Chief Judge Stark Denies Motion for Preliminary Injunction

August 24, 2018

In Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corp. v. Siemens Industry, Inc., No. 17-1687-LPS (D. Del. Aug. 2, 2018), Chief Judge Stark denied the plaintiff’s motion to preliminarily enjoin the defendant from selling a component for a train control system alleged to infringe the patent-in-suit. Although the Court concluded that the plaintiff was likely to prevail on its infringement claims, the Court also found it likely that the defendant would prove that the asserted patent was invalid. In light of that finding, which alone sufficed to defeat the request for a preliminary injunction, the Court declined to make a finding regarding irreparable harm. Chief Judge Stark did go on to find, however, that it would not be contrary to the public interest to deny the motion, since it was argued that railroads faced a regulatory deadline in December of 2018 to implement the “positive train control” system of which the accused component was a part, and that railroads preferred that there not be a single supplier of the train control system. Finally, the Court concluded that the balance of harms weighed against the request for relief, since an injunction could detrimentally alter the two-player market status quo for the technology and deprive the defendant of the benefit of investments it made in the technology.

Key Point: The Court noted that the defendant did not assert a non-infringement defense in response to the motion for a preliminary injunction, but was able to defeat the motion on the basis of an invalidity challenge and its showing on the balance-of-harm and public interest factors.