Related Case Studies
- Representative Experience
- Client Type
- Practice Areas
- Full Description
- Unfair Competition; Patent Invalidity
- USDC: Central District of California
- Defendant; Appliance Recycling Center
- Intellectual Property, Patent Prosecution, Licensing and Litigation
The plaintiff, the nation's only publicly traded appliance recycling company, sued defendant an upstart competitor for unfair competition and patent invalidity. The defendant's patent was for the incineration of CFC-11 found in polyurethane foam in refrigeration appliances. Plaintiff claimed the patent was obvious art, invalid and that the defendants publicizing of the patent in responses to bids from utility companies comprised unfair competition in misleading the public. Defendants had secured several large recycling projects from Southern California Edison, Sacramento Municipal Utilities District and Pacific Gas and Electric which otherwise would have gone to plaintiff. Plaintiff sought damages of $3-5 million (its estimated profit from the recycling contracts over three years).
After the initial trial date, a 9th Circuit Court of Appeal opinion issued adopting a 5th Circuit Court of Appeal decision requiring that the publication of the patent be made "in bad faith." A previously filed motion for summary judgment urged the trial court to adopt the standard, but the court refused and denied the motion. A renewed motion for summary judgment was filed after the 9th Circuit opinion and the court granted summary judgment for the defendant and ordered plaintiff to pay defendant's costs of suit.