High Court Denies Inventors Plea to Punish Law Firm

Perhaps surprising no one but the petitioner, the strange case of Lockwood v. Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton came to an end Monday on the steps of the nation’s highest court.

As a reminder, in this case the plaintiff accused the defendant law firm (Sheppard Mullin), and two of its attorneys, of malicious prosecution relating to an alleged “sham patent reexamination.”  The California court determined that the state law cause of action was preempted by federal law (i.e., the USPTO has jurisdiction over practitioner conduct); this holding was appealed to the CAFC. A week after oral arguments the lower court decision was affirmed per curiam. (See earlier posts here and here)

Undeterred, the plaintiff sought Supreme Court review of the dispute. (petition here). In discussing what actually occurred during the reexamination, I always found it quite odd that this case was pursued so vigorously.