Joseph J. Farnan: Applicants' "Misjudgment" Precludes Finding of Intent to Deceive
In a wide-ranging post-trial opinion issued on Tuesday, District Judge Joseph J. Farnan Jr. covered many topics, including standing, reissue, obviousness, and inequitable conduct. Of these, the Court's decision on inequitable conduct is particularly noteworthy for its explanation of the contours of deceptive intent:
"While in hindsight it may be attractive to construct a deliberate scheme of deceptive intent from the actions of these individuals given the success of CRESTOR in the marketplace, it is at least equally plausible from their testimony and the contemporaneous documentary evidence, that a scheme to defraud was the furthest thing from the minds of these individuals at the relevant time and that their vision was limited to the overwhelming demands they faced daily in their severely understaffed department. Viewed in this context, which the Court is persuaded is the appropriate context given the testimony and evidence, actions suggestive of malfeasance become no more than a string of mishaps, mistakes, misapprehensions and misjudgment on the part of inexperienced and overworked individuals."
By its reference to the marketplace, the Court highlighted its thinking on not only deceptive intent, but also on the intersection of commercial success and inequitable conduct.
See also the Court's errata order, posted here.