Fleming v. Escort, Inc.
United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
774 F.3d 1371 (2014)
Hoyt Fleming (plaintiff) owned two patents claiming radar detectors incorporating GPS units to detect police. The patents claimed priority to an application filed in April 1999. In 2009, Fleming sued Escort, Inc. (Escort) (defendant) for infringement of the two patents. Escort defended by alleging prior invention by one of its consultants, Steven Orr. Orr testified that he conceived his invention in 1988 and worked on it from then until he reduced it to practice in 1996 for a company that went bankrupt in 1997. Escort acquired the bankrupted company’s assets in the summer of 1997, including potential patent rights to Orr’s invention. Orr went to work for another company for 13 months after the bankruptcy but was giving information to Escort to help it develop a radar-detection business. Escort hired Orr in 1998, where he continued to work on the invention as indicated by timesheets from July 1998 to July 1999, when he filed his own patent application. To support its claim of prior invention, Escort offered Orr’s testimony, his research notes, and correspondence regarding the invention and seeking a patent for it, all before Fleming’s priority date. A jury found Escort infringed most of Fleming’s claims but invalidated five of them as anticipated by the prior invention of Orr, among other grounds. The district court upheld the jury’s verdict on summary judgment.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Taranto, J.)
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