Art That Did Not Invalidate Can Still Be Material

In American Calcar, Inc. v. American Honda Motor Co., Inc., 2013-1061 (Fed. Cir. 2014), the Federal Circuit affirmed a finding of inequitable conduct for failing a disclose a reference, even though the patent was found valid over that reference.  The Federal Circuit explained that district courts and the PTO employ different evidentiary standards and rules for claim construction. Therefore, “even if a district court does not invalidate a claim based on a deliberately withheld reference, the reference may be material if it would have blocked patent issuance under the PTO’s different evidentiary standards.” citing Therasense, Inc. v. Becton, Dickinson & Co., 649 F.3d 1276 (Fed. Cir. 2011) (en banc).  Thus the Federal Circuit concluded that the jury’s verdict finding the patents at issue non-obvious thus does not weigh on the determination of materiality for inequitable conduct.”