Participation of government contractors in patent infringement actions against the US government

The recent decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the case of In re Uusi LLC et al No 2013-155 may be of interest to companies that sell to the US government. Normally, claims of patent infringement relating to such sales must be brought against the government rather than the manufacturer, but the manufacturer is usually obliged to indemnify. In the Uusi case, the Federal Circuit addressed the ability of third parties to enter an appearance and file pleadings, at the government’s invitation, in an action against the government in the Court of Federal Claims. The Federal Circuit held that a third party with a sufficient interest in the subject matter of the lawsuit in the Court of Federal Claims can file a pleading that asserts defences to the claims, so long as the pleading does not result in claims between private parties.

The Uusi case involved claims by plaintiffs Uusi and OLDNAR Corporation (collectively ‘Uusi’) that third parties Grand Haven Stamped Products (GHSP) and AM General manufactured remote-control switch systems that infringed Uusi’s patents and were subsequently incorporated into articles accepted by the US government…

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