Tuesday, September 26, 2023
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Court Finds Patent Contract Ambiguous

(CN) - The Federal Circuit revived Euclid Chemical's patent dispute with Vector Corrosion Technologies, saying the language of a patent transfer agreement between Vector and an inventor is too ambiguous.

Euclid sought a court declaration that the agreement between Vector and inventor Jack Bennett did not include a patented method of preventing corrosion of steel-reinforced concrete. The transfer contract did not explicitly list the disputed patent, but that patent was a continuation of one of the patents in the contract.

Euclid said the contract doesn't specify whether previously issued patents were part of the transfer.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Boyko ruled that the contract was clear, and Vector was the rightful owner of the patent and all its continuations, including the disputed '742 patent. Boyko also found that Euclid had abandoned its claim that it was the bona fide buyer of the '742 patent.

The federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., reversed and remanded, saying Boyko needed to consider all relevant extrinsic evidence.

Also, the Federal Circuit disagreed with Boyko's finding that Euclid had abandoned its bona fide purchaser claim. The ruling "was effectively a dismissal for failure to prosecute, rather than a grant of summary judgment," Judge Linn wrote.

Judge Newman dissented in part, disagreeing with the 2-1 majority's decision that the issue requires trial.

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