By Jason Rantanen
Therasense, Inc. v. Becton, Dickinson and Company (N.D. Cal. 2012) Download 2012-03-28 Therasense v Becton Dickinson
Following the Federal Circuit's remand in Therasense v. Becton Dickinson, the district court has concluded that Patent No. 5,820,551 is unenforceable due to inequitable conduct under the higher standards for intent and materiality articulated by the en banc court. Specifically, the judge found that the withheld briefs were material under the "but for" test for materaliality, that the Abbot attorney and scientist knew of that but-for materiality, and that they possessed specific intent to deceive the patent office.
While all of the district judge's intepretations of Therasense are worth discussing, I find the characterization of Therasense as a whole to be the most interesting:
"Under the new standard, therefore, an applicant or attorney may knowingly and deliberately withhold from the PTO any reference known to be inconsistent with a position takeny by him or her before the PTO so long as the withholder does not know that the reference itself would lead to a rejection. It would not be enough to prove that the applicant or attorney expected that the concealment would help win an allowance or expected that, if revealed to the examiner, the reference would cause the examiner to merely question patentability. Rather, the applicant or attorney must know – and it must be later proven that he or she knew, that the item, if revealed, would lead to a rejection."
Slip Op. at 3.