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W.L. Gore & Assocs. v. Garlock, Inc. - 842 F.2d 1275 (Fed. Cir. 1988)

Rule:

Although the district court's grant or denial of an injunction is discretionary depending on the facts of the case, injunctive relief against an adjudged infringer is usually granted. An injunction should issue once infringement has been established unless there is a sufficient reason for denying it.

Facts:

W.L. Gore & Associates (Gore) invented a process, under which, TEFLON was to be stretched quickly and at high heat in order to create a soft, flexible, strong material, known as the PTFE tape being sold as thread seal tape. Subsequently, Gore was able to develop several PTFE products using the same process. In 1970, Gore filed a patent application with regard to the process. Thereafter, Garlock, Inc. (Garlock) produced a product as a substitute for Gore’s patented product and advertised the same as a “new form” of PTFE. Consequently, Gore filed a patent infringement suit against Garlock. The district court held that Garlock infringed Gore’s patent with regard to specific counts, but found no infringement regarding other counts on the basis that certain patents were invalid for anticipation, obviousness, and indefiniteness. The finding of indefiniteness was based in part on the lower court's finding that the term "rate of stretch" in the claims was indefinite.

Issue:

Did the district court err in finding that Garlock infringed on certain of Gore’s patents?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that Garlock failed to demonstrate that the lower court's findings were erroneous, and as such, the Court affirmed the lower court’s finding of infringement. The Court reversed the denial of an injunction against Garlock, asserting that absent the injunction, Garlock might continue to infringe Gore’s patent.

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