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Nobelpharma AB v. Implant Innovations, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
141 F.3d 1059 (1998)


Facts

Dr. Per Ingvar Branemark (plaintiff) conducted a study of people who received dental implants over a 10-year period and published his findings in a book. Branemark’s book included images of titanium implants pitted with microscopic irregularities, called micropits, that would help the implants stick securely to the jawbone. After publishing his book, Branemark patented the implant design shown in his book. His patent claim was for a titanium implant marked with micropits. Branemark did not disclose his book in his patent application. Branemark licensed the patent to Nobelpharma AB and Nobelpharma USA, Inc. (Nobelpharma) (plaintiffs). Later, Nobelpharma and Branemark sued Implant Innovations, Inc. (Implant Innovations) (defendant) for patent infringement. Implant Innovations brought a counterclaim against Nobelpharma for antitrust violations. Trial evidence showed that, in his patent claim, Branemark had failed to disclose key information about how to manufacture the micropits. The district court ruled that Nobelpharma’s patent was invalid as a matter of law because the patent failed to disclose the best mode of producing the implants. After a further trial on the antitrust counterclaim, a jury found that, to eliminate competition in the implant market, Nobelpharma had pursued an infringement suit against Implant Innovations for a patent that Nobelpharma knew was invalid. The jury found this was an antitrust violation and awarded Implant Innovations $3.3 million. Nobelpharma moved for judgment as a matter of law or a new trial, but the trial court denied the motion. Nobelpharma appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lourie, J.)

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