901281608: Honeywell-Sundstrand Case

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The Supreme Court should rule in favor of Honeywell International, Inc. Honeywell is able to adequately demonstrate that the system for managing surges in APUs, that was constructed by Sundstrand was unforeseeable by Honeywell. Because of this, we argue that the Supreme Court acknowledges that Sundstrand infringed claims 8, 10, 11, 19 and 23 of the Patent no. 4,380,893 and claim 4 of Patent no. 4,428,194, both of which are the property of Honeywell.

Honeywell's patent, which deals with a airflow control system in aircraft auxiliary power units has been shown to be more efficient than previous other models through its establishment of a 'set point' that governs the opening and closing of inlet guide vanes, IGVs. Honeywell was justified and reasonable in their decision to rewrite a certain number of their dependent claims into independent claims to include the necessary mention of the IGVs. These additional claims are beneficial as they add additional detail to the patent and better explain the patent's functioning. This is contrary to the goals of many patentees, which is to make a patent application as broad as possible and thus block a wide variety of competitor’s products. The reasoning for this amendment was to overcome prior art, which disclosed a surge control system, and this is unrelated to the IGVs. This is adequate evidence that countered the presumption of persecution history estoppel under the foreseeability and tangential relation criterion. If estoppel were applied in this case, it would be overreaching and fundamentally run counter to the purpose of estoppel, that is, to hold the inventor to the claims of his patent. In 1982, the year in which this system was developed by Honeywell, surge control systems did not use IGV orientation to determine the flow characteristic for use in surge control. The development by Sundstrand occurred 10 years after Honeywell's amendment, and this amount of time is significant in demonstrating unforeseeability. On such bases, Honeywell can rebut the presumption of surrender of all equivalents.

As a result of this rebuttal, it therefore follows that Sundstrand, which manufactures the APS 3200, infringed Honeywell's patent rights with their manufacture of a device that 'performs substantially the same function in substantially the same manner'. The use of the DELPQP is essentially the same in form and function to Honeywell's use of a 'set point' that the two can be judged as equivalent under the well established doctrine of equivalence. This opinion was also given by the jury, which in 2001 decided in favor of Honeywell and correctly awarded them 45 million dollars. The court also sided with Honeywell on the issue of the rewriting of their claims, noting that the change of claims from dependent to independent created a presumption of prosecution history estoppel. There is no need for a specific amendment to narrow claims in this matter as the lack of this does not imply unlimited surrender, as reasonable inferences maybe made.