Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In Pleading Inequitable Conduct, Inventor's Citation to Withheld Reference Does Not Establish Knowledge of Reference Sufficient to Satisfy FRCP 9(b)

Plaintiffs' motion to dismiss defendant's inequitable conduct claim for failing to plead with particularity was granted. "[Defendant's] cursory allegations that the inventors were aware of the material aspects of the alleged prior art based on citations to those works in unrelated publications fails to meet the standards for establishing the 'what,' 'where' and 'how' of the material omission. In order to satisfy this standard, the pleading must set forth 'which claims, and which limitations in those claims, the withheld references are relevant to, and where in those references the material information is found' as well as 'the particular claim limitations, or combination of claim limitations, that are supposedly absent from the information of record.' . . . [Defendant's] assertion that 'the named inventor[s'] own publications [which cite various parts of the alleged prior art publications]' is too vague to satisfy the heightened pleading requirements of Rule 9(b)."

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, et. al. v. Biopet Vet Lab, Inc., et. al., 2-10-cv-00616 (VAED June 27, 2011, Order) (Jackson, J.)

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