Fleming v. Escort, Inc., No. 14-1331 (Fed. Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Fleming owns two reissue patents (35 U.S.C. 251) relating to radar for detecting police signals. They claim methods for incorporating, and apparatuses that incorporate, a GPS unit to reduce false alarms by allowing the detector to disregard signals from an identified location known to produce false alarms (e.g., a storefront door opener). Fleming sued Escort for infringement. Escort argued anticipation and obviousness under 35 U.S.C. 102(g); 103, claiming that Orrinvented a GPS-incorporating radar detector before Fleming. Fleming’s claimed priority date is 1999—the filing date of his original patent application. Orr alleged that he conceived his invention in 1988 and made a working embodiment that reduced it to practice in 1996. Orr’s then-employer owned the potential patent rights; that employer entered bankruptcy in 1997. With Orr’s assistance, Escort acquired its assets, including potential patent rights. Orr began working at Escort in 1998. He filed a patent application, with Escort as assignee, two months after Fleming filed his application. The jury found most of Fleming’s claims to be infringed and not invalid. It found invalidity as to five claims and invalidated two claims as anticipated. The Federal Circuit affirmed, rejecting an argument that all of the claims were invalid because Fleming did not meet the “error” precondition for obtaining reissue.