The Corporate Law Group

Government Infringer

The Federal Circuit Court (the circuit responsible for most intellectual property disputes) recently held that the federal government can be held to patent infringement when one of its contractors infringes offshore.  In Zoltek Corporation v. US and Lockheed Martin, the owner of a patent concerning carbon fiber sheeting sued the U.S. because Lockheed Martin infringed in building F-22s.  The court found that the U.S. government can face patent infringement claims for products made outside the U.S. using infringing patented processes and then imported into the U.S. for use by a government contractor.  Also at issue was a statute providing immunity to the government contractor and whether or not Zoltek could sue Lockheed (they can’t).  Zoltek’s original complaint was filed in 1996.  The wheels of justice are apparently almost frozen.  

Paul Marotta

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