TC Technology filed a patent infringement action against Sprint alleging that Sprint infringed a patent pertaining to wireless services used on an LTE network. The complaint did not allege willful infringement.
During discovery, Sprint responded that it had received an email several years before the lawsuit was filed with an offer to purchase the patent-in-suit. An attachment to the email identified and described the patent-in-suit. Although the general counsel for Sprint forwarded the email and attachment to several Sprint employees, Sprint explained that it believed the attachment was never opened. TC Technology took the deposition of one of these employees and then filed a motion to amend the complaint to add a claim for willful infringement. Because the motion was filed after the cut-off established to amend the pleadings, TC Technology could not amend the complaint without a showing of good cause.
During deposition, the Sprint witness (Mr. Ball) testified that “there was no way to verify one way or the other” whether the attachment had been opened, other than the recollections of himself, Mr. Wunsch, and Mr. Cowan that it was not opened. As explained by the district court, Mr. Ball also testified that he did not think he, Mr. Wunsch, or Mr. Cowan would have opened the attachment in the normal course of business.