Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Patent malpractice case in South Carolina

An interesting patent malpractice involving a pecan nutcracker was reported in

It involves a not-unusual fact pattern of former employee and former employer, although the substance of the malpractice was a bit unusual: "bad advice" to the former employee concerning patents of the former employer and issues of foreign sales.

The article stated:

In court papers, Robertson said from 1983 through 1998, he worked for a company called Machine Design Inc., where he helped develop a commercial pecan nutcracking machine.

Robertson wanted to start his own nutcracking machine company after leaving MDI in 1998 and went to Nexsen Pruet for legal advice, his suit said.

The law firm told Robertson he could compete against his former employer, advising him that several machine patents held by MDI either had expired or soon would expire, and that U.S. patents had no effect on overseas sales, the suit said.

The award against Columbia, SC-based Nexsen Pruet Adams Kleemeier was for $5.5 million.

As to money, claims against Townsend and Townsend and Fish & Richardson involved more money.

In January 2006, reported that the $30 million award against Fish & Richardson in the Kairos case had been upheld:

Boston-based IP firm Fish & Richardson has had a $30m (£17m) award against the firm reinstated after failing to have a legal malpractice case against it reheard.

The original case, heard in 2003, concerned a complaint by chemical digital imaging client Kairos Scientific that Fish & Richardson had failed to file a patent application ‘in a timely manner’.

Although Fish argued that Kairos had sustained no damage, the California appeal court disagreed and upheld the original trial court’s decision to award Kairos Scientific $30m in damages.


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