RPC:HW 4-4-11: Honeywell v Hamilton Sundstrand brief-brief for Honeywell
Counsel Ryan Calkin Brief on Behalf of the Petitioner
Honeywell was correct in their claim that Sundstrand did indeed infringe, and that their own claim was not a case of foreseeability. Honeywell recieved a patent in 1982 for an auxillary power unit that command air surges in airplane engines. An independent claim was written with dependent claims to obtain a patent for the APU system with appearent mention of the term Inlet Guide Vanes several times as an equivalent technology. The Sundstrand invention seems to use the entire method in Honeywell patent, and finds an extra variable at the end in DELPQP calculation. Sundstrand does not deny the doctrine of equivalency as originally mentioned in Warner-Jenkinson v Hilton would define infringement, but contends that petitioner had a prosecution history estoppel which barred using the doctrine of equivalents and surrenders the right of the monopoly.
The respondents call for a complete bar of the patent since theres were after the fact amendment to the patent is illogical because the patent already self-limits the scope of the claims of what equivalents is not, but expressly includes IGVs which Sundstrand has in its invention, thus an obvious equivalent. Under Festo Corp. v. Shoketsu Kinzoku Kogyo Kabushiki Co., Honeywell proved that they did not surrender anything because the Sundstrand product was not foreseeable. Foreseeability deals with knowing with the prior art at the time of the patent any alternatives or equivalents that could be covered by a patent. Sundstrand did not begin their invention with Honeywell's prior art until 1991-1995, while the Honeywell patent was affirmed in 1982-1983. A gap of over a decade would point to a difficult or an unobvious equivalent, contrary to the respondents claim. If Honeywell may have been make the intuitive leap to invent Sundstrand's invention, they didn't, no did anyone else use Honeywell's prior art, and only after 10 years was Sundstrand's discovery made.
The case should be decided in favor of Honeywell.