Homework 7 (due Wednesday 6)~jnosal
Honeywell Intern., Inc. v. Hamilton Sundstrand Corp. 523 F.3d 1304
This case has clearly been one of minimal controversy, since the elements at hand, fit neatly into the patent laws, set forth by the patent office regarding Foreseeability, Equivalence, and Estoppels.
Honeywell states that Sundstrand has used their entire patented method while the only difference has been a slight addition to the final product. They also feel that the estopple issued should not apply since their original patent claims and the revised claims insinuate indirectly that an IGV can and should be used. This would be certain cause for infringement based on equivalence. But as the court has correctly decided this infringement has not taken place.
According to facts presented in the case, Honeywell had failed to label its products and thus the estoppel has issued. The issuance of an estoppel completely voids the victim of the right to claim infringement based on equivalence, which is the foundation of Honeywell’s argument. The argument did not rely on any prior art or substantially literal infringement practice to undermine Sundstrand, it merely used an already limited and confusing claim to envelope a much broader scope of interests.
A second point that must be made clear about the courts ruling involves the patent office. The first patent submitted by Honeywell was rejected by the patent office on the grounds that the independent claims were foreseeable based on prior art in the L1011. These exact claims that were initially rejected, overlap with the equivalence claim that Honeywell is now trying to make. If the court were to determine that Honeywells patent had been infringed it would be undermining the credibility and weight of the patents written and issued by the patent office.
It is clear that there are many was for inventors and engineers to skirt around patents and try to expand or shrink their influence into other bordering fields of learning. This is precisely why strict guidelines must be kept and followed under circumstances that involve estoppels and the doctrine of equivalence. Accordingly I respectfully agree with the courts decision to reject the claim of infringement on the Honeywell patent.