SW Legal studies in Business

Use of Patent for Government Contract Is Defense Against Infringement
Description One company made use of a patented device produced by another company, which then sued for infringement. The appeals court affirmed that the user of the device had an affirmative defense since the use was strictly for the benefit of the government.
Topic Intellectual Property
Key Words Patents; Infringement; Government Contractor
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Crater sued Lucent, alleging that Lucent infringed Crater's patent for an underwater coupling device. "Lucent argued that it was not liable for infringement because any work it performed with respect to the Crater coupler was done under a government project and was authorized by the United States." The district court dismissed the suit; Crater appealed.
Decision Affirmed. Lucent performed work as a contractor on a government project. All of Lucent's activities involving the coupler were only for the government in connection with a classified government project, a fact to which the government has testified. This provides Lucent with an affirmative defense. When a patented invention is used for the government by a private party, the private party cannot be held liable for patent infringement.
Citation Crater Corporation v. Lucent Technologies, Inc., - F.3d - (2001 WL 609010, Fed. Cir., 2001)

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