Equitable indemnification for patent infringement
« on: Apr 11th, 2005, 8:40am »
Does anyone have any experience with equitable indemnification for patent infringement?
Company A hires Company B to design and build a product.
Company B designs and builds the product but incorporates an infringing element.
Company A, after a while, looks for a cheaper source of product than Company B. Company A sends the product to Company C, which offers to build the same product, only cheaper. Company C does not know of Company B at the time.
The patent-holder sues Company A, Company B and Company C for patent infringement.
Leaving Company A aside for the moment, Company C wants to sue Company B for equitable indemnification, as it was Company B's design which was infringing.
Patent law does not permit contribution, but it is not so clear on equitable indemnity (certainly, there is no prohibition on contractual indemnity).