AGFA v. CREO Products (Fed. Cir. 2006).
In patent litigation involving patented computer-to-plate printing technology, the Massachusetts district court held a bench trial on the issues of inequitable conduct and enforceability before a jury trial on infringement and invalidity. In that bench trial, the patent was found unenforceable.
AGFA appealed — asserting that inequitable conduct and enforceability should have been tried by a jury. The CAFC disagreed — holding that the Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial does not extend to questions of inequitable conduct and enforceability.
Dissent by Newman:
The panel majority holds that the factual questions of both intent to deceive and materiality of deceptively withheld information are not subject to the jury right. This is a departure from the established jury right, for materiality and intent are quintessential questions of fact, and have been tried to a jury throughout the nation’s history. There is no basis for removing these factual questions from the jury when the jury is trier of fact. I respectfully dissent from the court’s holding that there is no right to a jury, and that the jury demand can be rejected at the trial court’s discretion.
More to come later . . .