Local patent dispute gains national attention

published in Law360 | May 20, 2009

Law360, a national legal newswire, reported on a decision handed down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in a locally tried patent dispute between Dickson Industries Inc. and Patent Enforcement Team LLC. Dickson Industries is represented by McAfee & Taft, including lead trial attorney John Kenney.

The court affirmed a lower court’s ruling that a patent held by Patent Enforcement Team on a method of making road rumble strips is invalid due to anticipation or obviousness, but vacated an award of attorneys’ fees to textile maker Dickson Industries Inc. based on a ruling that the patent is unenforceable due to inequitable conduct, Law360 reported.

The Law360 articles reports that the court found “rulings by Judge Joe Heaton of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma prejudiced patent holder Patent Enforcement Team in the case against Dickson Industries Inc., and did not give PET time to prepare a defense of Dickson’s inequitable conduct allegations.”

“The appeals court vacated the lower court’s award of attorneys’ fees to Dickson and remanded the case for a new trial on inequitable conduct. At the same time, it upheld the jury’s verdict that the patent is invalid for obviousness and an award of $1.5 million in compensatory and punitive damages to Dickson,” the article states.

Kenney, McAfee & Taft shareholder and intellectual property litigator, said the company was pleased the court affirmed the invalidity finding and did not disturb the damages award.

“We continue to believe the facts on retrial will support a finding in Dickson’s favor on inequitable conduct and an award for attorney fees,” Kenney told Law360.