CHICAGO (LAWFUEL) – Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione, one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the United States, today announced that a court has ruled in favor of its clients, Foboha Gmbh and Foboha US, Inc. (Foboha), leading manufacturers of injection molding equipment, in an unfair competition and tortious interference case. The case involves a patentee’s statements about its alleged patent rights during the application phase of the patent and during a reexamination of the patent.
“This case is significant because it highlights the differences between what one can say to others regarding infringement when you are a patent holder, and what one cannot say when you are merely a patent applicant or a patent holder undergoing reexamination,” said intellectual property attorney, Jeffry M. Nichols, a shareholder at Brinks.
Foboha filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against Gram Technology, Inc. and Jes Gram (Gram), the alleged patent owner (Civil Action No. 08-969). The complaint alleged that Gram falsely told Foboha and others in the industry that Foboha was liable for patent infringement. The complaint further alleged that these statements were made while Gram’s patent was only a pending application and while the patent was undergoing a reexamination proceeding that resulted in all of the claims being substantially amended.
Gram filed a motion to dismiss the complaint alleging, among other things, that Foboha’s unfair competition allegation under the Lanham Act was not sufficiently plead, including a failure to plead bad faith. Judge John F. Grady disagreed, however, and denied Gram’s motion to dismiss in its entirety. The court held that bad faith exhibited by Gram had been sufficiently plead because Gram’s alleged “claim of present liability based upon a patent application is ‘objectively baseless.’” The court stated that although Gram amended the claims during reexamination, Gram allegedly “continued to pursue purported infringers based upon those claims.” The court further said that Gram “issued a misleading press release stating that they had ‘successfully defen[ded]’ the reexamination when, in fact, the USPTO rejected [the] patent’s ‘original claims.’”
The Brinks attorneys representing Foboha in this matter were Gary M. Ropski, Jeffry M. Nichols, Timothy P. Lucier and Luke A. Parsons. The law firm of Rentsch & Partner, Zurich, Switzerland, was also a cooperating law firm and legal representative of Foboha in this matter.
Foboha GmbH and Foboha US, Inc. are part of the Injection Molding Division of Adval Tech Group, based in Switzerland. With its technical and organizational know-how, Foboha’s spheres of application include: packaging technology, medicine, cosmetics, automotive accessories and telecommunications. Foboha generates more than 60% of its sales from exports. For more information, visit www.foboha.com.
Founded in 1917, Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione is based in Chicago with five additional offices across the country, including Ann Arbor, serving the intellectual property needs of clients from around the world. The firm is one of the largest IP law firms in the country, with more than 170 attorneys, scientific advisors and patent agents specializing in intellectual property litigation and all aspects of patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, unfair competition, intellectual asset management, and technology and licensing agreements. Brinks routinely handles assignments in fields as diverse as electrical, chemical, mechanical, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, nanotechnology, Internet and computer technology, as well as in trademarks and brand names for a wide variety of products and services. For more information, visit www.usebrinks.com.