In an opinion on Friday, visiting Judge Stephanos Bibas of the Third Circuit pointed out a split in District of Delaware cases regarding whether a party can bring unclean hands counterclaims in patent cases:
Nor does TexasLDPC persuade me this declaratory-judgment counterclaim fails as a matter of law. True, courts disagree whether “unclean hands” can support a declaration that a patent is unenforceable. Compare In re Gabapentin Patent Litig., 649 F. Supp. 2d 340, 348 (D.N.J. 2009) (concluding it cannot), and Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. v. Cardinal Health 200, LLC, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104983, at *2–3 (D. Del. Jul. 27, 2012) (same),[ ]with The Meds. Co. v. Teva Parenteral Meds., Inc., 2011 WL 13141923, at *1 n.2 (D. Del. Oct. 6, 2011) (denying motion to dismiss or strike unclean hands counterclaim).
Judge Bibas sided with the cases holding that "unclean hands" is a proper counterclaim in a patent action:
Still, I will not stop Defendants from demanding a declaratory judgment about the unclean-hands doctrine. In my view, I may grant such relief. See Qualcomm Inc. v. Broadcom Corp., 548 F.3d 1004, 1025–26 (Fed. Cir. 2008) (“[A] district court ...