A A.B. Chance Co. v. RTE Corp
In A A.B. Chance Co. v. RTE Corp., 854 F.2d 1307, 1312, 7 USPQ2d 1881 (Fed. Cir. 1988), a case presenting a highly similar fact pattern, RTE alleged that A.B. Chance had engaged in inequitable conduct in the PTO based on its nondisclosure of offers for sale and information regarding its prior art devices and publications.
Nevertheless, the court made no determination regarding these allegations and merely held that "while this is a close case for the imposition of sanctions against Chance, I decline to order them because I do not believe it engaged in, as RTE states, an 'egregious pattern of conduct.'" Id.
Under these circumstances, the Court concluded that:
In the absence of any findings or discussion by the court regarding the lack of disclosure of the offers of sale and the prior art, we must assume that the alleged inequitable conduct was not considered by the court in deciding not to impose sanctions. . . . We agree with RTE that, in its consideration of sanctions, the district court erred when it did not make a determination of whether or not Chance had engaged in inequitable conduct before the PTO. Accordingly, we vacate the district court's denial of the request for attorney fees and sanctions and remand for reconsideration of these issues. Id. at 1312-13, 7 USPQ2d at 1885.