792 F.Supp. 1298 (1992)
PALL CORPORATION, Plaintiff,
Civ. A. No. 86-1427-Y.
MICRON SEPARATIONS, INC., Defendant.
United States District Court, D. Massachusetts.
April 24, 1992.
Nicholas Halpern, Ropes & Gray, Boston, Mass., Richard A. Huettner, Albin J. Nelson, Kenyon & Kenyon, New York City, for defendant.
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION
YOUNG, District Judge.
This case involves United States Patent 4,340,479 (the "Pall patent") covering a process for preparing hydrophilic polyamide membrane filtered media and product, which issued on July 20, 1982 to the plaintiff Pall Corporation ("Pall"). Pall is a New York corporation having a principal place of business in Glen Cove, New York, and offices on Route 25A in Roslyn, New York. Pall was founded in the late 1940's by Dr. David B. Pall of Roslyn Estates, New York. Dr. Pall is designated as the inventor of the patent-in-suit.
The action is brought against the defendant Micron Separations, Inc. ("MSI"), a Massachusetts corporation having a principal place of business in Westborough, Massachusetts. MSI was formed in 1981 when certain employees of a filtration company known as Millipore, specifically James S. Johnson and John M. Greenwood, left that company and, along with Edward J. Ackley, decided to start their own company and enter into competition with Pall, Millipore, and others in the microporous filtration industry.
The complaint in this action was filed on May 7, 1986. It seeks a judgment that MSI has willfully infringed the Pall patent. The complaint also seeks damages for past infringement and an injunction against future infringement.
I. Prior Art
A. The general setting.
At this juncture it's helpful to put some matters in perspective. Polymeric membranes are thin, sheet like materials with very small interconnected pores. The pores usually range in size from about one-tenth of a micron to ten microns. The membranes are made from a chemical material
Polymeric membranes, in the strictest sense of the word, may be fibrous or non-fibrous. Usually, however, when the term polymeric membrane is employed, the non-fibrous type is meant. Non-fibrous membranes are usually made directly from a solution or melt of the polymer. Fibrous polymeric membranes are made by first converting the polymer into fibers, and then making a thin web from those fibers. Potassium titanate is a good example of a fibrous polymeric membrane.
Prior to the development of the Pall nylon membrane, fibrous filter media, made, for example, from potassium titanate or asbestos, were commonly employed as filtration medium. At the present time, the two most commonly used microfiltration membranes are Pall's nylon membrane and Millipore's PVDF membrane, both made from non-fibrous polymers. They are employed mainly in the filtration of liquids to remove very small particles, including bacteria, a process known as microfiltration.
Typical filtration applications include use by pharmaceutical companies to assure that the drugs they make are free of bacteria contamination, use by electronic companies to purify water for chip manufacture, and use by hospitals to assure that the fluids administered to patients are free from bacteria and other contaminants. Typical biotechnological applications include use in diagnostics to detect the presence of antibodies and the so-called transfer membranes for identification of genetic characteristics.
Depending upon their use, polymeric membranes may have a skin on them, or they may be without a skin. Certain processes, reverse osmosis, for example, require the presence of a continuous skin, while in other processes microfiltration, for example, the complete absence of any skin is necessary.
Microfiltration is one of the most common applications for polymeric membranes at this time. It is, however, by no means the only application. Membranes are also used in reverse osmosis, electrophoresis, dialysis, electrodialysis, gas separation, and immobilization and transfer of substances. Microfiltration is the regime with pores between about one-tenth of a micron and 10 microns. The most important pore size is .2 micron because this is the pore size that gives the highest flow rates and throughputs consistent with the retention of the approximate .3 micron Pseudomonas diminutia bacteria which is the criterion for a pore size rating equivalent to sterilization. Today commercially acceptable microfiltration membranes are skinless and macrovoid-free and have a narrow pore size distribution which maximizes their efficiency at removing bacteria, and other particulate matter of equivalent size, from fluids.
Other uses for microfiltration membranes are now found more and more in the biotechnology area. Polymeric membranes are there employed, for example, to hold certain substances such as antibodies, antigens or other proteins while blood or other body fluids are passed through the membrane.
Over the years, many different polymers have been investigated as possible membrane media in a number of different applications. By the late 1970's, the list included the following, without any attempt to be exhaustive:
Cellulose acetate and nitrate including mixtures Electrophoresis
Cellulose triacetate Microfiltration