General Electric Co. v. Wilkins

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Patents
  • Date Filed: 11-29-2012
  • Case #: 1:10–cv–00674 LJO JLT
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: O'Neill
  • Full Text Opinion

The Clear and Convincing evidentiary standard required to rebut the presumption of patent validity will not be met when the key corroborative witness testimony is predicated on the challenging party’s own sequence of events.

Opinion (O’Neill): Thomas Wilkins (“Wilkins”) claimed he was an unnamed co-inventor on GE’s 956 Patent regarding adjustable pitch wind turbine propeller system. Award of a patent establishes a presumption of validity as to the named party’s inventorship. A challenge to the presumption of validity must meet the clear and convincing evidentiary standard. Wilkins presented documents outlining a trip to Germany while working at Enron Wind to meet with a named inventor that generally showed a planned discussion on the system in question. Additionally, Wilkins gave testimony the court considered impeachable. Finally, Wilkins’ corroborating witness based his testimony largely on the facts he presented. The court determined Wilkins had not met the required clear and convincing standard. Judgment was entered in favor of GE.

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