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Vol. 4 Issue No. 7


Patents

United States of America

UPDATE - Highly Publicized Lawsuit by Inventor Overturned

AKRON (October 4, 2005) -- In August 2002, the Akron Beacon Journal publicized a case ruling against a local patent attorney, but the case was later overturned on appeal.

There were seven assignments of error brought before the Ohio Court of Appeals Ninth Judicial District Court. The court ruled in Gugliotta's favor for the majority of the items. The 33 page ruling document dated May 25, 2005 concludes, “The judgment of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas is reversed and remanded for proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

“While I do believe in our legal system, there are other real problems that can result from someone's unreasonable pursuit of a complaint,” Gugliotta said. “Some people want to blame me for the failure of their inventions, but not every idea can be successful.”

“In general, more than half of all patents are not allowed,” estimated Gugliotta. “However that is not a reason to sue those patent attorneys who represented those concepts. This type of malicious prosecution is an extreme and completely out of the ordinary."

He notes that, although this event has caused some damage to his personal and professional life, his reputation is still in tack with those who look beyond the headlines. “There are many satisfied and successful clients I am working with, and more successes are occurring all of the time. It is just harder to get media exposure for the good things we are accomplishing here,” he added.

PCT Law Group

US college student awarded damages in Patent malpractice suit

Plaintiff was misled over patentability of invention

Plaintiff Melissa Morano , a college student, who devised a cell phone powered by solar energy, had contacted defendant Society of American Inventors (SAI) in Akron for help in obtaining a patent for her device.

However, the US Patent and Trademark Office rejected the idea for various reasons, including the fact that she was neither an inventor nor an engineer, and she had no idea how to make a solar-powered cell phone. At the end of three years, Morano had spent US$10,000 without obtaining the patent.

After failing to get a refund from SAI's founder - Akron patent attorney John D. Gugliotta - Morano filed suit in Summit Country Common Pleas Court.

Gugliotta countered by filing a defamation suit against Morano in 2001 in response to the complaints she filed against him with the Akron Bar Association and the Better Business Bureau. Morano retaliated with her own suit, alleging legal malpractice, abuse of process and violations of the Ohio Consumer Sales Practice Act.

At trial, Gugliotta's lawyers contended that Morano's idea was patentable. However, another inventor had preceded her in 1999, a year after Morano signed with SAI.

Morano's lawyer argued that-

  • Gugliotta should have known that Morano's invention could never be patented because two known concepts such as the cell phone and solar energy pad cannot be combined to obtain a new patent.
  • Besides Morano had no concept of how to make her idea work, and she was given an assurance by SAI that the idea could be patented.
The court awarded Morano an amount of US$ 39,000 towards damages. The court will also determine how much Gugliotta should pay of Morano's attorney fees, which amounts to about US$ 60,000.