Patent Case Summaries February 27, 2019

Patent Case Summaries | Week Ending February 22, 2019

A weekly summary of the precedential patent-related opinions issued by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the opinions designated precedential or informative by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.

CODA Development s.r.o., et al. v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., et al., No. 18-1028 (Fed. Cir. (N.D. Ohio) Feb. 22, 2019). Opinion by Prost, joined by Wallach and Hughes.

The Federal Circuit vacated a district court’s dismissal of a complaint seeking correction of inventorship and alleging misappropriation of trade secrets.

According to the complaint, Coda had invented certain self-inflating tire technology and had shared the technology with Goodyear pursuant to a nondisclosure agreement. Goodyear subsequently ceased communications with Coda and filed for and obtained several patents for self-inflating tire assemblies. Once Coda learned of those patents, Coda filed a lawsuit seeking correction of inventorship and alleging misappropriation of Coda’s trade secrets. The district court dismissed the correction-of-inventorship claims based on evidence that Coda’s technology was already known in the prior art. And the district court dismissed the trade secret claim as time-barred under Ohio’s four-year statute of limitations.

The Federal Circuit vacated the dismissal and remanded for further proceedings. The court ruled that, accepting the complaint’s factual allegations as true and drawing all reasonable inferences in Coda’s favor, Coda had pleaded a plausible claim for correction of inventorship. The district court’s contrary conclusion “rested largely on a procedural error—namely, the consideration of material outside the pleadings.” In particular, the district court had taken judicial notice of an article that Coda disputed, without affording Coda an opportunity to respond. The Federal Circuit explained that “judicially noticeable facts must not be subject to reasonable dispute.” Turning to the trade secret claim, the Federal Circuit vacated the district court’s dismissal because all reasonable inferences must be drawn in Coda’s favor and, further, a Rule 12(b)(6) motion “is generally an inappropriate vehicle for dismissing a claim based upon the statute of limitations.”

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