USPPS, Ltd. v. Avery Dennison Corp., No. 11-1525 (Fed. Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
In 1999 Beasley filed a patent application for personalized postage stamps. In 2001 the PTO issued notice of allowance. Beasley then entered into a licensing agreement with Avery, specifying that Avery would assume responsibility for prosecution of the patent application and would pay patent prosecution expenses. Beasley appointed Renner to prosecute his application. A Renner attorney filed a supplemental information disclosure statement concerning prior art references. The PTO issued a second notice of allowance. Beasley transferred ownership USPPS. USPPS and Avery entered into an agreement. Later, the PTO vacated its notice of allowance and issued final rejections. Beasley and USPPS alleged that Avery mismanaged the application. Beasley’s suit for was dismissed for lack of standing. USPPS filed suit, alleging breach of fiduciary duty and fraud, based on Avery’s alleged representation that Beasley was the client of Renner. The district court granted summary judgment for defendants. The Fifth Circuit transferred to the Federal Circuit, finding that jurisdiction was based, in part, on 28 U.S.C. 1338 and that the alleged malpractice involves a question of patentability, even if no patent actually issued. The Federal Circuit affirmed, holding that it had jurisdiction and that the complaint was untimely.