Judge Andrews denies patentee’s motion for preliminary injunction

In Chesnut Hill Sound Inc. v. Apple Inc., C.A. No. 15-261-RGA (D. Del. Nov. 6, 2015), Judge Richard G. Andrews denied Plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction.

The Court assumed for purposes of the motion that Plaintiff could prove a likelihood of success on the merits, but because it concluded that Plaintiff had not made a showing of irreparable harm, an assessment of likelihood of success was unnecessary. Id. at 3.

As to irreparable harm, the Court pointed to Plaintiff’s delay in moving for an injunction, where the patent-in-suit that was the subject of the motion had been issued three years before the motion. The fact that Plaintiff had brought suit on a second patent that had not issued until 2014 did not alter the Court’s analysis, as this patent was not the subject of the motion and the ten-month delay from its issuance to filing of the motion still demonstrated significant delay. See id. at 7-8. The fact that Plaintiff did not have a commercially viable product also showed a lack of irreparable harm. Plaintiff argued that Defendant’s product prevented its entrance into the market and, absent an injunction, Plaintiff’s investment in product development would be lost. The Court disagreed, noting that “[w]ithout an available product or any evidence that one will be available in the near future, any arguments [Plaintiff] makes regarding lost profits, lost market share, lost goodwill, and lost business opportunities are speculative, if not fanciful. Accordingly, [the Court found Plaintiff’s] lack of a commercially available product, or even a suggestion as to when such a product would be available, weakens its ability to show the type of ‘immediate irreparable injury” required to prove irreparable harm.” Id. at 9. Finally, Plaintiff had not shown that monetary damages would be insufficient, as mere difficulty in calculating monetary damages due to the fact that Defendant’s accused product was offered for free was insufficient to show such damages would be insufficient compensation. Id. at 10. Instead, due to Plaintiff’s “lengthy delay in seeking injunctive relief, its lack of a commercially available product, and its failure to show a causal connection between any alleged infringement and the market failure of its products . . . [Plaintiff] would be adequately compensated by money damages should it succeed on the merits of its infringement claim.” Id.

Because the Court concluded that Plaintiff had not made a showing of irreparable harm, it did not consider the balance of hardships or impact on the public interest. Id. at 11.

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