Court Finds No Inequitable Conduct
In Becton Dickinson and Co. v. Tyco Healthcare Group LP, the Court again demonstrated the difficulty of being successful raising an inequitable conduct defense. After a jury finding of willful infringement and validity, the Court held a bench trial on Tyco's inequitable conduct defense. Tyco's defense was grounded in the argument that Becton Dickinson failed to disclose prior art references that effect, not an asserted claim of the patent, but instead an element of an independent claim that was not asserted during the infringement trial. Tyco further alleged that the inventors improperly represented to the PTO that they were the original inventors of every element of the claimed invention. The Court following the criteria set forth in the Federal Circuit decision FMC Corp. v. Manitowoc Co., Inc., 835 F.2d 1411 (Fed. Cir. 1987) found that the prior art was not material because it was cumulative of art that was already before the Examiner and that there was no evidence of an intent to deceive the Patent Office.