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United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
June 19, 1987, Decided
Nos. 86-1359, 86-1375, 86-1377
[***1235] [*1048] Archer, Circuit Judge.
[***1236] J.P. Stevens Company, Inc. (Stevens) and Badische Corp. and Burlington Industries, Inc. (collectively Burlington) bring this consolidated appeal from the denial of their requests for attorneys' fees entered by the United [**2] States District Court for the Southern District of Florida subsequent to this court's decision in J.P. Stevens & Co., Inc. v. Lex Tex Ltd., Inc., 747 F.2d 1553, 223 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 1089 (Fed. Cir. 1984), cert. denied sub. nom., 474 U.S. 822, 106 S. Ct. 73, 88 L. Ed. 2d 60 (1985), holding all claims of U.S. Patent 3,091,912 ( '912 patent) unenforceable because of inequitable conduct. We affirm.
The substantive facts are set forth in the opinion cited above. In summary, the '912 patent, which relates to reprocessing "torque stretch yarns," has been in litigation since 1969. In 1974, it was held unenforceable for misuse. In re Yarn Processing Patent Validity Litigation, 398 F. Supp. 31, 182 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 323 (S.D. Fla. 1974), aff'd, 541 F.2d 1127, 192 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 241 (5th Cir. 1976), cert. denied, 433 U.S. 910, 97 S. Ct. 2976, 53 L. Ed. 2d 1094 (1977). Lex Tex sued appellants in 1977, claiming it had purged the [*1049] misuse as of 1974. After a trial, the district court declared the misuse had been purged, but only as of May 31, 1977. In re Yarn Processing Patent Validity Litigation, 472 F. Supp. 180, 206 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 630 (S.D. Fla. 1979). [**3] Subsequently, the district court granted appellants' motion to order Lex Tex to submit to a reissue proceeding.
In the reissue proceeding, the examiner for the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) rejected all claims in view of Weiss. Many of the claims were also rejected in view of DaGasso. Neither of these references was disclosed to the PTO during the original prosecution, although both sides agree that the attorneys prosecuting the application and the inventors knew of them. The PTO Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (board) modified the rejection, holding that certain product claims would not have been obvious in view of Weiss and DaGasso. Lex Tex then renewed its infringement action against appellants on the reissued product claims. See J.P. Stevens & Co., 747 F.2d at 1556-57, 223 U.S.P.Q. at 1089-90.
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822 F.2d 1047 *; 1987 U.S. App. LEXIS 355 **; 3 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1235 ***
J.P. Stevens Company, Inc., Badische Corporation and Burlington Industries, Inc., Appellants, v. Lex Tex Ltd., Inc., Appellee
Prior History: [**1] Appealed from U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
attorney's fees, patent, district court, inequitable conduct, reissue, factors, unenforceable, infringement, prevailing, circumstances, references, contends
Civil Procedure, Judicial Officers, Judges, Discretionary Powers, Patent Law, Damages, Collateral Assessments, Attorney Fees, Costs & Attorney Fees, Attorney Fees & Expenses, General Overview, Basis of Recovery, Statutory Awards, Appeals, Standards of Review, Abuse of Discretion, Clearly Erroneous Review, Defenses, Inequitable Conduct, Burdens of Proof, Infringement Actions