Summary: Alleged inventor did not prove inventorship by clear and convincing evidence because he did not present credible testimony that could be corroborated.

Case: General Electric Company v. Wilkins, No. 2013-1170 (Fed. Cir. May 8, 2014) (precedential). On appeal from E.D.Cal. Before Lourie, Taranto, and Chen.

Procedural Posture: Appellant appealed decision that former employee failed to prove inventorship. CAFC affirmed.

  • Inventorship: Wilkins, a former GE employee, was hired by Mitsubishi as a consultant in a litigation against GE. Wilkins asserted ownership as a co-inventor of the patent in suit. The court agreed with the district court’s findings that Wilkins was biased because he was a paid witness, was purposefully evasive to basic questions, and was impeached during cross-examination, thereby undermining his credibility. The court also agreed that documents of record did not verify Wilkins’ testimony. A co-inventor must make a contribution to the claimed invention that is not insignificant in quality when that contribution is measured against the dimension of the full invention, which Wilkins did not prove.