Federal Appeal

Industrial And Intellectual Property

Trial judge did not apply three-prong test for determination of inducement

Appeal of decision declaring that appellants had infringed respondents’ patent. Respondents had developed seal assembly used around pump shafts in oil wells to prevent oil from escaping around shafts. Respondents had sold prototype to two other companies and then obtained patent. Appellants started manufacturing and selling similar design. Lower court affirmed that appellants had infringed respondents’ patent rights and issued injunctive relief. Sale to other companies did not constitute disclosure to public even without confidentiality regime since expectation of confidence existed. Appeal was based on claims construction, prior disclosure, obviousness, witness credibility, inventorship, misrepresentations to Patent Office and adverse inferences. Appeal partially allowed with respect to adverse inferences. Ruling of infringement with respect to method claim was reversed as appellants did not practice such method. Trial judge had assumed that sales to customers occurred and that they would have used instruction manual, thus, inferring that there appellants had induced third parties to infringe method claim. Trial judge did not apply three-prong test for determination of inducement. Significant gaps in evidentiary support existed. Court returned issue of infringement of method claim to lower court judge for redetermination in accordance with established test. All other arguments failed as appellants did not show palpable and overriding error by trial judge.

Weatherford Canada Ltd. v. Corlac Inc.

(July 18, 2011, F.C.A., Nadon, Evans and Layden-Stevenson JJ.A., File No. A-282-10) Decision at 189 A.C.W.S. (3d) 478 was reversed in part. 204 A.C.W.S. (3d) 888 (87 pp.).

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