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The court affirmed the district court’s grant of JMOL in favor of Plaintiff on Google’s breach of contract counterclaim.  Plaintiff had developed its patented invention while employed at SRI and had an employment contract with SRI requiring the disclosure and transfer to SRI of all inventions discovered while employed by SRI.  After being sued and learning these facts, Google acquired all rights that SRI had in the patents and then countersued for breach of contract for Plaintiff’s failure to assign the invention rights to SRI.  Plaintiff alleged that Google’s counterclaim was time barred as being filed more than three years after the cause of action accrued.  The jury agreed with Google that the statute of limitations was tolled, but the court entered JMOL.  The Federal Circuit affirmed, holding that, under Delaware law, the basis of the breach of contract could was not “inherently unknowable,” as SRI knew the company that the employee had left to join.  Therefore the statute of limitations was not tolled.  

Personalized User Model, LLP v. Google Inc., Case Nos. 2014-1841, 2015-1022 (August 18, 2015); Opinion by: Lourie, joined by Prost and Reyna; Appealed From: District Court for the District of Delaware, Stark, J.  Read the full opinion here.

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