CODA Development SRO v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

CODA’s CEO, Hrabal, invented self-inflating tire (SIT) technology. In 2008, GM representatives approached CODA, wanting to involve Goodyear in commercializing the technology. The parties executed a nondisclosure agreement, then met in 2009. Goodyear’s representatives included Benedict. At Goodyear’s request, CODA shared confidential information concerning the SIT. Goodyear representatives expressed skepticism about its viability. The parties agreed to continue discussions. Benedict requested to review an updated technical presentation, the latest testing methods, and performance results. At a second meeting, CODA allowed Goodyear to examine a functional prototype of the technology. Benedict requested that his team have time alone with the prototype, during which he photographed it without permission. Months then passed without any communication. In December 2009, a Goodyear employee on Benedict’s team independently inquired about the status of CODA’s SIT in preparation for an internal Goodyear meeting. Unbeknownst to CODA, Goodyear applied for a patent entitled “Self-Inflating Tire Assembly.” The 586 patent issued in 2011, naming Benedict and Losey as the inventors. CODA later received an unsolicited email from the ex-Goodyear employee with whom it corresponded in December 2009, stating, “I am retired now .. and see ... that they have copied your SIT.” The Federal Circuit vacated the dismissal of CODA’s complaint, seeking correction of inventorship, 35 U.S.C. 256. The district court erred in considering outside evidence about an article, by Hrabal, concerning the technology and in concluding that the complaint was time-barred.CODA’s claims allow the reasonable inference that Hrabal conceived the invention and that Benedict and Losey did not. View "CODA Development SRO v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co." on Justia Law