Friday, September 23, 2011

Misrepresenting Necessity of Obtaining Patent Quickly is not Material Misrepresentation Sufficient to Support Inequitable Conduct Claim

The court granted plaintiff's motion to dismiss defendant's inequitable conduct counterclaim for failure to state a claim. "[Defendant] alleges that [plaintiff] misrepresented the necessity of obtaining the [patent-in-suit] as quickly as possible to terminate ongoing infringement at the time of application. [Defendant] then points to the time gap of roughly 18 months between receiving the patent and commencing litigation against [an alleged infringer] in a previous lawsuit, as evidence of [plaintiff's] lack of good faith. Using history as a guide, [defendant] infers that [plaintiff] is repeating its strategy of maximizing infringement damages by waiting five years before bringing the present suit. . . . The one alleged misrepresentation, that [plaintiff] asked the PTO to expedite its patent so it could sue, as plead, is not material to the claim of inequitable conduct as it relates to this case. This case arose well after that statement and the filing of the patent. The court does not find that statement material to this litigation. . . . Further, even when taken as true, there is no showing in the pleadings that there is any intent to deceive on the part of [plaintiff]."

Exmark Manufacturing Company Inc. v. Briggs & Stratton Power Products Group, LLC, et. al
., 8-10-cv-00187 (NED September 20, 2011, Order) (Bataillon, J.)

No comments: