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May 29, 2008

Malicious

The common approbation "junk patent" is typically stuck on "patent trolls," that is, inventors asserting their rights. Only rubes buy that. Companies regularly pitch junk at each other. Case in point: Dow Chemical, whose advertising tripe is "responsibility begins here," found guilty of malicious patent assertion.

Dow tried to get Mee Industries to license 5,867,977 and 5,930,990, claiming improving power generation in gas turbines. Mee demurred. Dow sued. A 2002 six-day bench trial in central Florida let the duo off the hook, finding invalidity and non-infringement. Dow appealed. Partial reversal and remand, to no effect.

The district court then ruled that Dow should pay Mee's costs for the post-remand phase, an $85,138 ticket. Unsatisfied, Mee sued Dow in May 2005 for malicious prosecution, seeking all costs. Not an easy charge to stick: a plaintiff has six hurdles, including showing no probable cause and malice. Mee prevailed before a jury, which awarded $2.85 million. Additional fees will take the tab over $4 million.

Posted by Patent Hawk at May 29, 2008 8:38 PM | Litigation