December 3, 2021

Volume XI, Number 337

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Update: Absent Explicit Statutory Language? The American Rule Still Applies

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit updated its earlier opinion to remove language ascribing motive to a prolific inventor’s actions before the US Patent & Trademark Office (PTO). Hyatt v. Hirshfeld, Case Nos. 020-2321; -2325 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 18, 2021) (modified Oct. 12, 2021) (Hughes, J.)

The original opinion noted that Gilbert Hyatt is known for his prolific patent and litigation filings (including hundreds of extraordinarily lengthy and complex patent applications in 1995 alone) and for often “adopt[ing] an approach to prosecution that all but guaranteed indefinite prosecution delay.” The modified opinion deletes language in the original opinion ascribing to Hyatt the motive of “in an effort to submarine his patent applications and receive lengthy patent terms.”

The Federal Circuit did not alter its earlier reversal of the district court’s grant of attorneys’ fees to Hyatt (since he was not the prevailing party) or its affirmance of the district court’s denial of the PTO’s request for expert fees (after finding “[a]ll the expenses of the proceedings shall be paid by the applicant” under 35 U.S.C. § 145, not specifically and explicitly shifting expert witness fees). The rest of the text of the opinion remains unchanged.

© 2021 McDermott Will & EmeryNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 294
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About this Author

Jiaxio Zhang Patent Agent  McDermott Will Intellectual Property Law

Jiaxiao is an experienced patent agent and a former engineer at a biomedical device company. While in law school, Jiaxiao served as executive content editor for the UC Irvine Journal of International, Transnational and Comparative Law, and as a staff editor for the UC Irvine Law Review. She received the outstanding student member award for the Howard T. Markey Intellectual Property American Inn of Court and was runner up for best oral argument in the UCI Law Experian/Jones Day Moot Court Competition. She also participated in the American Intellectual...

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