Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Obligation to Disclose Best Mode Does Not Include Superior Configuration for Particular Application

Defendant was entitled to summary judgment on plaintiff's best mode defense based on the testimony that, in one particular application of the patented invention, defendant "discovered a particular rail spacing superior to all others." "The prototype [plaintiff] refers to was developed to satisfy the customer’s unique needs. The customer needed to process a substantially larger volume of solids than [defendant] had heretofore encountered. [Defendant] was uncertain if its equipment would work under those conditions. This suggests, not that [defendant] discovered a single, optimal rail spacing, but that the optimal configuration may depend on several factors, including the type of equipment being washed and the quantity and nature of the soil on the equipment. . . . The evidence does not demonstrate that [defendant] knew of a particular best mode for practicing its invention in general."

Petter Investments, Inc. v. Hydro Engineering Inc. et al., 1-07-cv-01033
(MIWD September 8, 2009, Opinion) (Quist, J.)

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