WASHINGTON (CN) – The Court of Federal Claims reinstated Star Scientific’s patent lawsuit against R.J. Reynolds Co., ruling that a patent for a tobacco-curing process should not have been deemed unenforceable.
Star sued the tobacco giant for allegedly infringing on its patent, but the district court agreed with R.J. Reynolds that the plaintiff had deceived the U.S. Patent Office by withholding pertinent data.
Judge Michel reversed the decision, stating that R.J. Reynolds had not proven that two letters about the merits of various tobacco-curing processes were relevant to the discussion.
Reynolds had alleged that Star had replaced its counsel in order to keep their first counsel from disclosing the letters to the patent office.
“It is inequitable to strike down an entire patent where the patentee only committed minor missteps or acted with minimal culpability or in good faith,” Michel wrote.