Bell’O International Corp. has released a statement noting that its counterclaims of inequitable conduct remain in a lawsuit the company filed against Whalen Furniture Mfg. The Bell’O suit came after Whalen took legal action against it for patent infringement.
Filed in December 2011, the Whalen lawsuit against Bell’O alleges infringement of United States Patent Numbers 8,079,311 and 8,191,485. Bell’O maintains that none of the patent claims are infringed and that all claims will be found invalid. It also contends that the patents will be held unenforceable due to inequitable conduct committed by Whalen.
Bell’O asserted that on November 29, Judge Marilyn Huff of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California issued an order advancing Bell’O’s case by denying Whalen’s motion to dismiss Bell’O’s inequitable conduct counterclaim and affirmative defense.
The order concluded that Bell’O had presented enough facts to state a claim for inequitable conduct under the existing precedents, so the court refused the Whalen motion to dismiss the third counterclaim for failure to state a claim. The order does not constitute a final judgment in the suit.
Bell’O’s CEO, Marc Sculler, stated that he was pleased with the court’s finding and looks forward to a final decision establishing that Whalen’s patents are not infringed, are invalid and are unenforceable due to inequitable conduct.