Minkin v. Gibbons, P.C., No. 11-1178 (Fed. Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff worked as an airplane mechanic, in the Navy and for several airlines. In the 1960s, he devised a tool that could reach deep inside airplane engines without disassembling external components. In 2000, a patent issued to plaintiff for the extended reach pliers, based on an application written and prosecuted by defendant. Danaher, a customer of plaintiff's business, subsequently developed its own version of the ERP and began competing against the device. Plaintiff sued for malpractice, alleging that the patent was so negligently drafted that it offered no meaningful protection against infringers. Its expert proposed alternate claim language that allegedly could have been enforced against Danaher. The district court granted defendant summary judgment, based on the element of causation. The Federal Circuit affirmed. Plaintiff did not raise a genuine dispute of material fact as to the patentability of its alternate claims. Plaintiff failed to raise a single material fact in dispute as to the nonobviousness of the proposed alternate claims.