4/4/11 : Homework based on "Honeywell v. Hamilton Sundstrand" (kyergler)
To: Supreme Court Justices
A Brief in Support of Hamilton Sundstrand
Even as a supporter of the Doctrine of Equivalents, it has come to my attention that Court of Appeals Circuit Judge has wronged Hamilton Sundstrand by allowing the application of the Doctrine of Equivalents to conclude the Hamilton Sundstrand invention as infringement to Honeywell’s patent. In order to get the Honeywell patent approved by the PTO, the specific mentioning of the actual invention (Honeywell’s improved auxiliary power unit) was ignored in the application of their first patent application. After a requirement put out by the PTO, Honeywell included their APU invention in the patent. This action in itself cancels out the use of the Doctrine of Equivalents. Even though I very much agree with the use of the Doctrine, it can only be applied when it is valid. Furthermore, if taking the exact wording of the patent, which should be proper considering it is the burden of the applicant to cover everything that defines their patent, does not describe the Hamilton Sundstrand invention without the use of the Doctrine of Equivalence. This leaves only one argument: whether the lack of the exact mentioning of the Honeywell invention in the patents warrants infringement by Hamilton Sundstrand. The overall picture is being clouded by Honeywell’s general analysis of their patents and the claims within them. As was learned in Graver Tank & Mfg. Co. v. Linde Air Products Co., the Doctrine of Equivalents applies to an analysis of the invention on an elemental level, in addition to a comparison as a whole. In order to pass the amendment, Honeywell assumed the P and Delta P analysis was part of prior art, and any parallelism with this analysis would be considered prior art use. However, since it was not mentioned within the patent, there is no grounds for infringement of the Honeywell patent. It was the burden by Honeywell to prove whether an alleged equivalent would have been unforseeable, and I would have to agree with the District Court of Delaware rightfully described Honeywell’s argument as inadequate. There is no infringement by Hamilton Sundstrand on account of a lack of proper wording in the patent application because the Doctrine of Equivalence is invalid in this specific case on account of estoppel and foreseeability.
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