District Judge Denise Cote denied plaintiff Keystone’s motion to dismiss defendant Chariot International’s affirmative defense of inequitable conduct for failing to provide material information on a prior art product to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) during prosecution of the asserted patents. Keystone’s U.S. Patents 7,866,715 and 8,047,601 (collectively “Keystone’s patents”) are directed to devices designed to protect the rear bumper of a car from minor damage. In its amended answer Chariot specified the prior art product that Keystone failed to disclose to the USPTO, and alleged that someone at Keystone purchased the prior art product from Chariot using a pseudonym, which suggested that Keystone’s failure to disclose the product to the USPTO was willful. The court found that these factual allegations, while sparse, are enough to raise an inference of intent to deceive, and thus, defeat Keystone’s motion to dismiss.
Case: Hockeyline, Inc. v. Stats LLC., No. 13 Civ. 1446 (CM) (S.D.N.Y. March 4, 2014)