A recent U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decision puts the patent bar on notice that vague claims of another lawyer's intent to mislead or withhold data from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will no longer fly.
On the inequitable conduct issue, the district court found that SAAT's pleading failed to allege inequitable conduct "with particularity" under Rule 9(b). The pleading, which alleged inequitable conduct over 7 paragraphs, cited specific documents that "Exergen failed to cite", along with examples of "arguments made to the PTO were contradicted by statements from Exergen’s own website."
the CAFC agreed with the district court that the allegations were deficient with respect to both the particularity of the facts alleged and the reasonableness of the inference of scienter.
Exergen sued Wal-Mart, CVS, and several thermometer makers (including SAAT) for infringement of three patents covering infrared detecting thermometers. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that one of the patents was invalid because it is inherently anticipated, and the other two were not infringed.