A district court that hears live testimony on an appeal from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences is not required to defer to the factual findings of the board but instead should conduct a trial de novo, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held Jan. 27 (Winner International Royalty Corp. v. Wang, Fed. Cir., No. 98-1553, 1/27/00).

Winner International Royalty Corp. sells the automobile anti-theft device known as “The Club,” which is covered by Winner’s U.S. Patent No. 4,738,127. Winner also sells a successor to The Club, “The Super Club,” which is covered by U.S. Patent No. 4,935,047. The Super Club does not require a key, but instead has a self-locking mechanism.

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