Federal Circuit Rejects Odom Appeal in Case against Microsoft
- May 10, 2011
May 4, 2011- The Federal Circuit rejected pro se inventor Gary Odom’s appeal of a lower court’s decision finding Odom’s patent invalid for reasons of obviousness and not infringed by Microsoft. Odom’s patent relates to toolbars in software applications that enable users to hide one or more tool selections in a toolbar. Odom had originally filed suit in the Eastern District of Texas in 2008. Microsoft later countersued for declaratory judgment of noninfringement and invalidity and also claimed that Odom was barred from asserting the patent against Microsoft as the result of an employment agreement Odom had with an Oregon law firm that also represented Microsoft in some matters. After the suit was transferred to Oregon in 2009, Odom’s attorneys moved to withdraw from the case citing disagreements with Odom. After Odom failed to retain new counsel, Odom moved to dismiss the suit, which the court granted. However, the court declined to dismiss Microsoft’s declaratory judgment counterclaims and further denied Odom’s motion to stay the case pending inter partes reexamination of the patent.