Schroeder v. Tracor

1999 U.S. App. LEXIS 30386 (1999)

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Schroeder v. Tracor

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
1999 U.S. App. LEXIS 30386 (1999)

  • Written by Tammy Boggs, JD

Facts

Between 1983 and 1988, Klaus Schroeder (plaintiff) was employed at AEL Industries, Inc. (AEL) (defendant). As consideration for his employment, Schroeder signed an agreement in which he agreed to assign his rights in all his conceived inventions at any time to AEL, except as specifically identified. Later, Schroeder specifically identified nine or 10 pre-employment non-patented techniques related to complementary pair antennas. During his employment with AEL, Schroeder offered his complementary-pair-antenna design to AEL for use as an improvement to one of AEL’s product lines. In 1987 and 1988, respectively, Schroeder applied for two patents covering his complementary-pair-antenna design. The first patent (the ’000 patent) was issued in June 1988. The second patent (the ’167 patent) was issued in 1990, after Schroeder was terminated. In 1996, AEL was acquired by or merged with Tracor, Inc. (defendant). In 1997, Schroeder sued AEL and Tracor for infringing the ’000 and ’167 patents. AEL and Tracor raised a shop-right defense and, on that basis, moved for summary judgment. In a previously submitted court pleading, Schroeder stated that the first time he had demanded royalties from AEL for the use of his patents was shortly after the issuance of the ’000 patent, in 1988. In opposition to summary judgment, Schroeder claimed that he had repeatedly demanded royalties from AEL for use of his design. The trial court granted AEL’s and Tracor’s motions for summary judgment. Schroeder appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Clevenger, J.)

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