Blank Rome Secures Early Summary Judgment for Oshkosh Corporation in Patent Infringement Suit
A Blank Rome team recently attained a significant victory for Oshkosh Corporation by securing an early summary judgment in defending a patent infringement suit filed in the Court of Federal Claims. The Blank Rome team convinced the court to cancel a mini-trial scheduled for September 2020 and grant judgment on the existing record. Judgment was entered in favor of the defendants on July 6, 2020.
The case started in 2017 when the plaintiffs, Ideal Innovations, Inc., The Right Problem, LLC, and Robert Kocher, sued the United States Government for allegedly infringing their patents related to armored vehicles. In 2018, Oshkosh Corporation, a government contractor, received notice from the government of the pending lawsuit with an option to intervene and assist with the defense. Oshkosh elected to intervene as a third-party defendant and, soon thereafter, the Blank Rome team and the government filed an early motion for summary judgment of non-infringement. The defendants argued that they could not infringe because they had a license to practice the alleged invention under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (“CRADA”) between the plaintiffs and government. The court initially denied the motion, finding an issue of fact regarding whether the plaintiffs actually reduced their invention to practice before the CRADA’s effective date. If so, there was no patent license under the CRADA.
The court then scheduled a mini-trial for September 2020 on this one issue and ordered supplemental briefing on a reduction to practice question. The Blank Rome team took the primary role in drafting the supplemental brief on behalf of the defendants. They explained under the correct legal standard that the plaintiffs could not satisfy their burden because they admitted they never tested an armored vehicle prior to the CRADA’s effective date. The defendants used the supplemental brief as an opportunity to renew their summary judgment motion, pointing out no fact issue remained and stating a mini-trial was not necessary. The court, persuaded by the defendants’ arguments, granted the defendants’ renewed motion and canceled the mini-trial as well as entered judgment in favor of the defendants.