Another Inequitable Counterclaim Dismissed after Thereasense

Plaintiff filed a patent infringement action against the defendant alleging that certain of defendant's T-shirt transfer products infringed plaintiff's patent. Defendant filed an answer and counterclaim which accused the plaintiff of inequitable conduct in amending its patent during a reissuance of the patent. Defendant claimed that plaintiff deliberately pursued a broadened reissue patent based on her learning of material faults in the patent after having had an opportunity to analyze defendant's products and technology. Defendant's primary contention was that the amendments made during the reissuance proceeding added new material to the patent. As the district court wrote, "[a] reissue patent that enlarges the scope of the claims contained in an original patent shall not be granted unless it is applied for within two years of the grant of the original patent." The reissue application for the patent-in-suit was filed more than two years after the issuance of the patent. Plaintiff moved to dismiss the inequitable conduct defense on the grounds that the facts alleged did not support a plausible inference that the plaintiff (1) made an affirmative misrepresentation of material fact or failed to disclose material information to the PTO during the reissue examination and (2) intended to deceive the PTO.

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