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Delaware Superior Court Allows Statutory Tort Claims for Computer Crimes to Proceed Alongside Breach of Contract Claims

Posted In Breach of Contract, Superior Court

Work Capital, LLC v. AlphaOne Capital Partners, LLC, C.A. No. N19C-08-036 PRW CCLD (Del. Super. June 25, 2020)
Delaware law may provide statutory tort remedies in addition to contractual remedies for actions involving computer system misuse, as demonstrated by a recent Delaware Superior Court opinion. In Work Capital v. AlphaOne Capital Partners, plaintiff Work Capital brought an action in the Superior Court initially alleging only three counts for breach of contract. Plaintiff later amended the complaint, adding one count for violation of Delaware’s Computer Related Offenses Act, 11 Del. C. §§ 931-941 (the “Act”). More ›

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Delaware Superior Court CCLD Clarifies When a Plaintiff is on Inquiry Notice to Bring a Claim for Limitations Period Purposes

Posted In Statute of Limitations, Superior Court

Ocimum Biosolutions (India) Ltd. v. AstraZeneca UK Ltd., C.A. No. N15C-08-168 AML CCLD (Del. Super. Dec. 10, 2019).

Even in circumstances where a statutory limitations period can be tolled, tolling typically will cease once a plaintiff may be charged with inquiry notice of its potential claims. In this dispute brought against the biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca arising out of database subscription arrangement, the Complex Commercial Litigation Division of the Delaware Superior Court held that defendant AstraZeneca was entitled to summary judgment because the plaintiff Ocimum Biosolutions had inquiry notice of its claims for breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets more than three years before commencing suit.  More ›

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Superior Court Affirms Jury Verdict of Breach of Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing Concerning a Patent Dispute Settlement Agreement

Posted In Patent, Settlement Agreement, Superior Court

DRIT LP v. Glaxo Grp. Ltd., C.A. No. N16C-07-218 WCC CCLD (Del. Super. Oct. 17, 2019).

This decision demonstrates the rare case where a breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing survived a legal challenge and resulted in a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff. The case arose from a patent license and settlement agreement resolving a patent ownership dispute over the use of antibodies to treat Lupus. The 2008 settlement agreement gave ownership of the inventions to the defendants and obligated them to pay royalties to the plaintiff DRIT and its predecessor in interest. After paying the royalties for several years, in 2015, the defendants filed a request for a statutory disclaimer of the patent in question and notified the plaintiff that the disclaimer had the effect of eliminating any ongoing claim for royalties.  This event was not addressed in the parties’ agreement, and the court in post-trial motions upheld the jury’s verdict in favor of the plaintiff on its implied covenant claim because the evidence supported findings that the defendants’ exercise of the  disclaimer in these circumstances was an unusual event that the parties would not have reasonably anticipated, and the disclaimer was not a normal rational action and was taken solely for the purpose of discharging defendants’ royalty obligations. The Superior Court found that the defendants simply had not presented sufficient evidence to convince the jury that the defendants had a credible business justification for filing the disclaimer. The Superior Court also rejected a challenge to the testimony of plaintiff’s industry expert that the defendants’ rationale for use of the disclaimer fell outside normative, rational behavior in the circumstances. The court thus found that the jury reasonably could have found the defendants’ proffered justification to be pretextual and not credible. 

Finally, the court granted damages in the form of royalties to DRIT from the time of the defendants’ breach to the date of the jury’s verdict, with a declaration of ongoing royalty obligations through the expiration of the patent. Going forward, the future royalty would be determined by the sales of the licensed drug. The court held that its ruling would uphold the expectation of the parties at the time of contracting, which was that DRIT would continue to receive royalties until the patent expired.

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