Sevenson Environmental Services, Inc. v. Shaw Environmental, Inc.

Nos. 2006-1391, 2006-1408 (2007)

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Sevenson Environmental Services, Inc. v. Shaw Environmental, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
Nos. 2006-1391, 2006-1408 (2007)

  • Written by Liz Nakamura, JD

Facts

Shaw Environmental, Inc. (Shaw) (defendant) contracted with the United States Army Corps of Engineers (government) to perform hazardous waste remediation work at government-owned sites. The contract included an authorization-and-consent clause, which stated that Shaw had the government’s authorization and consent to use any invention covered by a United States patent if necessary to comply with (1) contract specifications or provisions; or (2) written government directives. Shaw was required to submit a workplan with detailed specifications to the government for approval prior to commencing work and then perform in strict accordance with the approved plan. Shaw’s approved workplan involved the use of a hazardous waste remediation procedure patented by Sevenson Environmental Services, Inc. (Sevenson) (plaintiff). Sevenson filed a patent-infringement claim against Shaw in district court, arguing that the use of its patented procedure was infringing because it did not fulfill the primary purpose of Shaw’s government contract. Shaw moved for summary judgment, raising the affirmative defense of contractor immunity, and arguing that the government was the proper target of Sevenson’s suit. The district court granted Shaw summary judgment. Sevenson appealed to the Federal Circuit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Linn, J.)

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