Plumley v. Mockett, 79 Cal. Rptr. 3d 822 (California Ct. App. 2008) 79 Cal.Rptr.3d 822
Interesting case from California state court. Plumley won an interference proceeding and then sued Mockett and Mockett’s attorney for “malicious prosecution.” The allegation was that Mocket and his patent attorney “filed the federal interference action with malice and without probable cause. In the malicious prosecution charges were dismissed, but case raises important cautions to third parties intending to request interference proceedings; request reexamination; or potentially even oppose European patent grants. In this case, both parties were located in California, and the court there did not appear concerned that the interference (the alleged malicious prosecution) was filed in a non-Californian administrative agency.
- The facts from the case are intriguing and detailed. Mockett originally sued Plumley in California court alleging that Plumley had stolen his idea. The California court, however, held that Mockett was lying and had fabricated evidence. Parallel to the original state court action, the PTO found for Mockett in the interference (noting that it was not bound by the California court’s holding). On appeal, the district court flipped BPAI’s holding – finding no evidence of derivation. Subsequently, the BPAI awarded the patent to Plumley. At that point, Plumley sued Mocket for malicious prosecution.
The patent at issue is a design patent covering a grommet for a desk that allows wires to pass through. U.S. Design Patent No. D 361711.