Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Kingsdown Medical Consultants, Ltd. v. Hollister Inc. case brief

Kingsdown Medical Consultants, Ltd. v. Hollister Inc. case brief summary
863 F.2d 867 (1988)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Plaintiff corporate patent holder sought review of an order of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, which held that where plaintiff failed to discover misrepresentation in a claim in a continuation application, its actions constituted gross negligence. The district court ruled that the patent was unenforceable due to plaintiff's inequitable conduct.

CASE FACTS
Plaintiff was a corporate patent holder who brought suit against defendant corporation for patent infringement. While plaintiff appealed its claims rejected by the patent office, its attorney found defendant was manufacturing a device similar to plaintiff's. Plaintiff retained outside counsel to file a continuation application and withdrew its appeal. The district court found where plaintiff was grossly negligent in allowing a claim misrepresentation where review of other claims would had uncovered the misrepresentation, the district court found plaintiff committed gross negligence. The district court found gross negligence evidenced plaintiff's intent to deceive and held plaintiff's conduct inequitable. Thus, the district court declared plaintiff's patent unenforceable. Plaintiff appealed.


DISCUSSION

  • The court reversed and remanded, holding where an intent to deceive had to be proved by clear and convincing evidence, plaintiff's negligent filing of its continuation application did not rise to a level of deceitful intent. 
  • Therefore, the patent was not unenforceable.
CONCLUSION
The court reversed and remanded the district court's judgment declaring plaintiff's patent unenforceable holding where plaintiff's negligence in reviewing its claim in continuation application did not rise to level of intentional conduct, the district court erred in holding the patent unenforceable.

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