Inequitable conduct in dealings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office may expose patents to an unenforceability defense.  Today, the Federal Circuit considered a "collection" of missteps by an inventor who chose to represent himself before the PTO.  The mistakes included paying small entity (rather than large entity) maintenance fees, failing to disclose an affiant’s financial interest in the patents, misclaiming priority dates, and not disclosing patent litigation and prior art.  The court expressed sympathy for the inventor but declined to excuse his too-many flubs.  Nilssen v. Osram Sylvania, Inc., No. 06-1550 (Fed. Cir. Oct. 10, 2007).

Get a lawyer, knucklehead!

Barry Barnett

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