Federal Circuit Reverses Summary Judgment Finding Non-Infringement
By Leocadie Welling – Edited by Jad Mills
Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling, Inc. v. Maersk Contractors USA, Inc., No. 2009-1556 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 18, 2010)
On August 18, 2010, the Federal Circuit reversed in part, affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded the decision of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, which had granted summary judgment in favor of Maersk on issues of invalidity and non-infringement for three of Transocean’s deepwater drilling patents.
The Federal Circuit reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment of invalidity for lack of enablement because there were factual issues precluding summary judgment. The court also reversed the summary judgment of invalidity for obviousness because the district court failed to consider objective evidence of nonobviousness. Although Transocean had presented contrary objective evidence of obviousness, the court held that the issue could not be resolved at summary judgment. The court also held that the district court had erred in granting summary judgment of non-infringement. Importantly, in so holding, the court stated that “a contract between two U.S. companies for performance in the U.S. may constitute an offer to sell within the U.S. under § 271(a)” regardless of whether the contract had been negotiated and/or signed outside of the U.S.