In Junker v. Medical Components, Inc., No. 2021-1649 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 10, 2022), the Federal Circuit reversed the district court’s summary judgment of no on-sale bar.

Junker sued defendants for infringement of U.S. Design Patent No. D450,839 drawn to a design for a handle for introducer sheath used in catheter insertion procedures. Defendants argued that the patent is invalid under § 102(b) based on a letter from Junker’s business partner—dated more than one year before the patent’s filing date—responding to a buyer’s request for quotation. The district court held that the letter was merely a preliminary negotiation.

The Federal Circuit reversed and held that the letter was an offer for sale because it was responding to a single recipient for a “request for quotation.” The letter also contained necessary terms typical for a commercial contract, including specific delivery conditions. The completeness of the commercial terms signified that it was multiple offers for sale, any which could have been accepted. The patent was held invalid under § 102(b). This opinion serves as an important reminder that, absent design-specific statute or case law, the statutes and precedent related to utility patents apply to design patent cases as well.