Falsus in Uno, Falsus in Omnibus?
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Did A Panel Of The Board Incorrectly Apply The Maxim Falsus In Uno, Falsus In Omnibus?1

By Charles L. Gholz2 and Lisa M. Mandrusiak 3


According to Black’s Law Dictionary (De Luxe Fourth Edition, Copyright 1957 by West Publishing Co.), the venerable maxim falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus translates as: “False in one thing, false in everything.” Black’s goes on to explain that “The doctrine means that, if testimony of a witness on a material issue is willfully false and given with an intention to deceive, jury may disregard all the witness’ testimony.” Please note that, for the doctrine to operate, the willfully false testimony must relate to “a material issue” and, of course, that the doctrine applies (to the extent that it does apply) to any trier of facts, not just to juries.

Although our searches showed no recent reported opinions using the maxim by name,4 courts - and humanity - have long applied variations on this theme.5 In fact, as detailed below, Mr. Gholz witnessed a panel of the former Board of Patent Appe...

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