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Rolls-Royce prevails in patent litigation dispute against United Technologies Corp


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Rolls-Royce prevails in patent litigation dispute against United Technologies Corp

Rolls-Royce prevails in patent litigation dispute against United Technologies Corp


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Home Page > Law > Copyright > Rolls-Royce prevails in patent litigation dispute against United Technologies Corp

Rolls-Royce prevails in patent litigation dispute against United Technologies Corp

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Posted: May 13, 2010 |Comments: 0
| Views: 259 |



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On May 5, in an opinion handed down by Judge Rader for the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, the Circuit court upheld the decision of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia rendered by Judge Brinkema where the court held that United Technologies Corp.’s (UTC) patent only covered rear sweeping jet engine fan blade tips. The Court of Appeals held that because the district court correctly determined that Rolls-Royce, PLC’s (Rolls-Royce) forward sweeping blade tip patent would ‘not have been obvious’ in light of UTC’s application of their rear sweeping blade tip, the judgment of the District Court was proper. That decision can be found here.

The District Court’s prior ruling overturned a decision of the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) in an interference proceeding which involved an improved design for jet engine fan blades that allowed for a reduction in the amount of shockwaves produced by the engine.  The BPAI’s prior ruling was in favor of UTC, holding that UTC’s patent application covered a fan blade that had a tip that swept either forward or rearward. 

By affirming the District Court’s decision and the overruling of BPAI’s determination, the Circuit Court of Appeals has effectively limited the ‘not obvious’ test for allowing new patent applications. Judge Brinkema’s decision utilized the ‘not obvious’ test and rejected UTC’s argument that a forward sweeping tip of the fan blade is an easily predictable and achievable variation in view of the disclosure of the rearward sweeping tip in UTC’s earlier application. The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment that the forward sweeping blade tips were ‘not obvious’ because of the availability of a broad selection of choices for further investigation that included any degree of sweep for the fan blade tip. A further consideration secondary to the ‘not obvious’ test, was that an embodiment of Rolls-Royce’s invention had become the industry standard, thus the Court of Appeals reinforced the finding of non-obviousness. Discussion of this subject can also be found here.

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Warren Fink
About the Author:

Warren Fink is an intern working with internet lawyers for Traverse Legal. Traverse Legal is a law firm specializing in intellectual property rights, domain name dispute resolution and applying cutting edge technology to make legal work more transparent; benefitting consumers, lawyers, the legal system, and the general public.

Traverse Legal Lawyers: Handling Internet Legal Issues For Clients Worldwide. Our Internet Lawyers are recognized for their expertise, innovation and client service in the Internet Law space. Contact an Internet Lawyer for more information or call 866.936.7447.

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Warren Fink is an intern working with internet lawyers for Traverse Legal. Traverse Legal is a law firm specializing in intellectual property rights, domain name dispute resolution and applying cutting edge technology to make legal work more transparent; benefitting consumers, lawyers, the legal system, and the general public.

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