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Commercial Division Blog

Current Developments in the Commercial Divisions of the
New York State Courts
Posted: November 2, 2017

Valid Threats of Patent Litigation Against Customers Not Tortious Interference

On October 24, 2017, the First Department issued a decision in Lotes Co., Ltd. v. Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd., 2017 NY Slip Op. 07397, dismissing a claim for tortious interference based on the defendant’s threats to sue the plaintiff’s customers for patent infringement, explaining:

The court properly dismissed plaintiff’s claim that defendant tortiously interfered with prospective contractual relations by threatening plaintiff’s potential customers with patent infringement litigation for using plaintiff’s products based on a ruling in the Chinese courts finding that plaintiff had infringed on defendant’s patents. Since plaintiff has not alleged and cannot show that defendant’s threats of civil suit were frivolous, it cannot establish the wrongful means element.

(Internal quotations and citations omitted).

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