Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace - Failure to Raise Verdict Inconsistency Defeats Appeal

December 14, 2006
Post by Blog Staff

In L&W, Inc. v. Shertech, Inc. and Steven W. Sheridan ("Shertech"), the Court affirmed in part the decision of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan holding claim 7 valid and claim 10 invalid of Shertech's '264 patent, and affirming the portion of the judgment holding that the '264 patent was not unenforceable due to inequitable conduct. At issue was a patent ("the '265 patent") for an automobile heat shield. L&W sought a declaratory judgment that it did not infringe Shertech's '264 patent, that the '264 patent was invalid, and that the '264 patent was unenforceable because of inequitable conduct. Shertech counterclaimed, alleging that L&W's products infringed the '264 patent. The district court entered summary judgment of infringement. The parties then tried the invalidity claims to a jury. The jury rendered special verdicts, finding all the claims of the '264 patent invalid except claim 7. A bench trial was then held on L&W's inequitable conduct claims. The district court rejected the claim. L&W appealed from the portion of the judgment holding it liable under claim 7 based in part on an asserted inconsistency in the jury's special verdicts. Shertech cross-appealed from the portion of the judgment holding claim 10 invalid. In affirming the district court's decision to regarding claims 7 and 10, the Court held sufficient evidence was presented to the jury to support its verdict regarding claims 7 and 10. However, the Court held that Shertech failed to satisfy its burden of showing that there was no genuine issue of material fact on the issue of infringement. Additionally, the Court held that because neither party objected to the supposed inconsistency in the verdict prior to the jury's dismissal that both parties had waived such a challenge for purposes of appeal. To read the full text of the decision, click here.

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