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Conair Patent Judgment Reversed
Apr 13, 2004
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Personal care appliance maker Conair announced that the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), which hears all appeals of patent cases in the U.S, reversed a judgment of U.S. $46 million against Conair that had charged Conair hair dryers infringed on a patent owned by German Engineer Dr. Harry Gaus.

Conair said it utilized technology licensed from the Leviton Company that prevents electrocution from use of a hair dryer when it comes into contact with water. Though Conair's technology differed from that claimed in the Gaus patent, two Federal District Court judges and a jury had failed to understand this, according to Richard A. Margulies, vice president and general counsel of Conair.

"Having juries decide complex patent issues can be problematic because jurors can get caught up in the drama of the trial without comprehending the technical issues," Mr. Margulies said.

The original trial took place Jan. 22 to Feb. 1, 2002 in Manhattan, NY, U.S. The reverse judgment was made on April 1, 2004.

Conair said that Dr. Gaus and Patent Enforcement and Royalties, Ltd, a publicly held Canadian company that bought a portion of Dr. Gaus' patent rights, had various opportunities to settle the case, both before and after the trial. "Conair's confidence in its position and in the CAFC has been rewarded," Mr. Margulies said.

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