SMC Corp., Ltd. v. Lockjaw, LLC, __ F. Supp.2d __, 2007 WL 983850 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 3, 2007) (Castillo, J.).
Judge Castillo granted plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction, enjoining defendants from breaching the parties’ agreement, unless plaintiff acted in a manner triggering the agreement’s termination provision, and from contacting plaintiff’s customers for any purpose without plaintiff’s consent. Plaintiff was the exclusive distributor of defendants’ patented Lockjaw pliers in certain Western European countries. For about eighteen months, plaintiff’s distributed defendants’ pliers without incident. But then defendants altered payment terms, which was their right if they followed certain procedures. Plaintiff alleges that defendants did not follow those procedures and based on this dispute the relationship appears to have broken down. Shortly after defendants altered the payment terms, plaintiff filed this suit seeking, among other things, a declaratory judgment that the agreement is binding and enforceable, and that defendants breached the agreement. Plaintiff also sought an injunction to prevent the defendants from terminating the agreement and/or contacting plaintiff’s customers. Relying upon the UCC, the Court found that plaintiff had a likelihood of success on the merits based upon, among other things, the fact that its brief (and cured) nonpayment for two shipments likely did not constitute a breach of the agreement.
Kenall Mfg. Co. v. Genlyte Thomas Group LLC, 439 F. Supp.2d 854 (N.D. Ill. July 20, 2006) (Castillo, J.).
Judge Castillo denied opposing infringement and invalidity summary judgment motions in this very detailed and thorough opinion. The opinion is most remarkable for its illustration of two basic, but important, practice tips, which are best understood from the following excerpts:
The only thing that the multitude of summary judgment motions and expert reports filed in this hotly-disputed patent case make clear is that multiple issues of material fact remain to be determined. Instead of moving this case toward a timely resolution, the parties are driving up the costs of litigation with superfluous briefing that has repeatedly failed to abide by this Court’s local rules.
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This case has been poorly litigated up to this point. By failing to file a 56.1 statement of facts and by failing to respond to Genlyte’s 56.1 statement, Kenall’s attorneys have come dangerously close to losing this case for their client based on nothing but their own ineptitude. On the other side, both Genlyte and Kenall have fanned the flame of excessive and superfluous briefing with arguments for unfeasible claim construction and a litany of expert reports that show nothing but material issues of facts. The parties have now spent tens of thousands of dollars on seven expert reports and extensive briefing of three separate motions for summary judgment to prove to this Court that this case is certainly not appropriate for resolution on summary judgment.