Header graphic for print
Chicago IP Litigation Tracking Northern District of Illinois IP Cases

Tag Archives: Chang

Failing to Offer Construction for Indefinite Term Can Leave a Court “at Sea”

Posted in Claim Construction

Saro Golf, Inc. v. Nike, Inc., No. 08 C 1110, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Sep. 9, 2013) (Chang, J.).

Judge Chang clarified the claim constructions in this patent case regarding an improved golf club head.  “Radius of curvature” was previously construed to mean “radius of a substantially circular curve of a substantial portion of the back side profile shape.”  This construction presumed that each of the heel and toe of a club head had a profile that was “circular in profile” meaning that it was largely made of a single radius.  Neither party had sought a construction limiting the profile to one composed of a single radius, nor did they address the construction at the claim construction hearing.

The Court considered the parties’ briefs and the intrinsic evidence, but could not “square” the construction with the evidence because:

  1. The single radius requirement read one of the preferred embodiments out of the claim.
  2. The construction was a “mouthful” and did not make sense grammatically within the asserted claim 7.  It is good to see courts concerned with making claims that could go to a jury more reasonable and understandable, although it may be a nearly impossible task.
  3. The prior construction was based upon the faulty premise that a radius of curvature could only be a circle.  In fact, it is a mathematical term that can be applied to any curve.

The Court, therefore, held that the Radius of Curvature was an average measure along a complex curve, and the issue was where it was measured from.  The Court ordered further briefing on the issue because neither party fully addressed it.

The Court also upheld the prior constructions of “Heel” and “Toe” of the club.  In doing so, the Court cautioned defendants to strongly consider offering alternative constructions when arguing terms were indefinite to avoid leaving the Court “at sea” should indefiniteness be denied.  The Court acknowledged that offering a construction could weaken the indefiniteness argument, but pointed out that courts regularly handle arguments in the alternative.

Intrinsic Evidence Supported Claim Construction That Excluded a Preferred Embodiment

Posted in Claim Construction, Federal Rules

Albecker v. Contour Prods., Inc., No. 09 C 00631, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Sept. 27, 2013) (Chang, J.).

Judge Chang decided the parties’ respective Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b) motions for reconsideration: (1) plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration of the Court’s previous claim construction order; and (2) defendant’s motion for reconsideration of the Court’s previous opinion denying defendant’s motion to dismiss the declaratory judgment count for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.  Plaintiff filed affirmative patent infringement claims against defendant, as well as declaratory claims seeking to invalidate defendant’s patent.  Defendant argued that the Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to declare defendant’s patent invalid because there was no case or controversy.  The Court denied defendant’s motion to dismiss.  Then, during claim construction of plaintiff’s patent, the claim term “secured to” was construed to mean “attached using attachment means,” a construction that allegedly excluded a preferred embodiment disclosed in the patent’s specification.

In its motion for reconsideration, plaintiff argued that the Court’s construction impermissibly excluded a preferred embodiment disclosed in the specification.  Defendant argued that this construction did not impermissibly exclude a disclosed embodiment because the intrinsic evidence supported the construction and plaintiff withdrew the claims directed to the preferred embodiment in favor of prosecuting other embodiments in response to a restriction requirement issued by the PTO. Even heeding the Federal Circuit’s cautionary warning from Plantronics, Inc. v. Aliph, Inc., 724 F.3d 1343 (Fed. Cir. 2013) to not conclude that a patentee has disclaimed claim scope simply by withdrawing claims after receiving an unexplained restriction requirement, the Court found that the bulk of intrinsic evidence supported the Court’s prior construction.  Because the weight of the evidence supported the Court’s prior construction, plaintiff did not meet the burden required of a motion to reconsider.

Defendant’s motion for reconsideration of defendant’s denied motion to dismiss was granted because defendant’s actions toward plaintiff did rise to the standard required by SanDisk Corp. v. STMicroelectronics, Inc. for declaratory judgment actions.  480 F.3d 1372, 1381 (Fed. Cir. 2007) (requiring patentee to take position that “puts the declaratory judgment plaintiff in the position of either pursuing illegal behavior or abandoning that which he claims a right to do.”).

Preliminary Injunction Entered Against Defendants Failing to Appear

Posted in Trial

Algierz, Inc. v. The Source of Apparel, Inc., et al., No. 12 C 5361, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. July 13, 2012) (Chang, J.).

Judge Chang ruled upon plaintiff Algierz’s motion to extend temporary restraining orders (“TROs”) and for preliminary injunctions (“PIs”) in this patent case as follows:

  • The Court denied to extend the TRO and denied a PI as to defendant Source of Apparel and an individual defendant because there was insufficient evidence that those defendants knew of the asserted direct infringement.  The defendants therefore, could not be liable for contributory infringement.
  • As to defendant Selah USA and another individual defendant, the TRO was extended based upon evidence of direct infringement.  The Court deferred ruling upon the PI until expiration of the TRO to give the defendants time to defend against the PI and to finalize settlement.
  • Defendant Hip Hop Trading LLC and two other defendants, each of whom did not appear, had a PI entered.  They were given leave to file motions to dissolve the PIs upon their “prompt appearance.”
  • The Court ordered Algierz and defendant D&J International and another defendant to submit their agreed, proposed PI for the Court’s consideration.

Lack of Detailed Allegations Dooms Patent Complaint

Posted in Pleading Requirements

Gharb v. Mitsubishi Elec. Automation, Inc., No. 10 C 7204, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. June 4, 2012) (Chang, J.).

Judge Chang granted defendant Mitsubishi Electric Automation’s (“Mitsubishi”) Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss plaintiff’s patent complaint.  With respect to direct infringement, plaintiff only accused Mitsubishi’s programmable logic controller (“PLC”), but in a previous suit on the patents-in-suit, the Federal Circuit held that a PLC alone could not infringe the patents.

The Court also dismissed plaintiff’s contributory infringement claims because plaintiff did not make sufficient allegations to show that Mitsubishi’s PLC was not a staple article.  And plaintiff’s various exhibits showed that the PLC had multiple non-infringing uses.

Finally, the Court dismissed the inducement claims.  Plaintiff only identified Mitsubishi’s PLC, not an entire security system to show direct infringement.  And the PLC’s non-infringing uses called into question the necessary intent claims.

 

New N.D. Illinois Judges Panel: Judge Chang

Posted in Legal News

In late January, the Northern District’s six newest judges attended a Federal Bar Association panel to offer insights into their practices and chambers. The recurring theme of the discussion was a call for civility: Civility in court. Civility in briefs. Civility in emails. Over the next several weeks, I will provide summaries of each judge’s comments and insights. This post (the second nin the series) focuses upon Judge Chang (a University of Michigan aerospace engineer like me Go Blue!):

  • Send someone to hearings that knows the case and/or motions.
  • Civility: Do not casually suggest misconduct; avoid work like "fabricated," "concocted" or "misleading".
  • Rule 56 motions: omit unnecessary details and "use brevity."

Senate Confirms Edmond Chang as District Judge for the N.D. Illinois

Posted in Legal News

The U.S. Senate has confirmed Edmond E. Chang as a district judge for the Northern District of Illinois.  Chang had served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois since 1999.  He was the Chief of Appeals for the Criminal Division for the last five years. He previously worked at Sidley Austin in Chicago, and served as a law clerk to Judge Marvin Aspen in the Northern District and Judge James Ryan on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.  Judge Chang’s confirmation leaves the Northern District with three vacancies on the bench.

Welcome to the Northern District bench Judge Chang.

Obama Continues to Fill Northern District of Illinois Bench Vacancies

Posted in Legal News

Late last month, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved President Obama’s recent appointments to fill two of the five pending or scheduled vacancies on the Northern District of Illinois bench.  Sharon Coleman and Gary Feinerman now await confirmation by the full Senate. 

President Obama has now nominated Assistant U.S. Attorney Edmon Chang to fill the third of the five vacancies.  Chang started his career as a Northern District of Illinois clerk for Judge Aspen and then as a Sixth Circuit clerk for Judge Ryan.  Chang’s bio from Senator Durbin’s press follows:

Chang has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois since 1999, and he is currently the chief of appeals. He previously worked as an associate at Sidley Austin in Chicago, and as a judicial law clerk to Judge Marvin Aspen in the Northern District of Illinois and Judge James Ryan on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. He received a Star of Distinction award from the Chicago Crime Commission. He has served as an adjunct professor at Northwestern University law school, where he graduated with honors and served on the law review.

Senator Durbin Sends Northern District Judicial Nominees List to President Obama

Posted in Legal News

Illinois’s senior senator Dick Durbin recently sent President Obama the names of seven nominees to fill three vacancies on the Northern District of Illinois bench.  The nominees are AUSA Edmond Chang, Illinois appellate Judge Sharon Coleman, Magistrate Judge Susan Cox (click here to read about Judge Cox’s IP opinions in the Blog’s archives), Thomas Durkin, Gary Feinerman, Mary Rowland and Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez (click here to read about Judge Valdez’s IP opinions in the Blog’s archives). 

Here are biographies of each nominee from Senator Durbin’s press release:

Chang has served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Illinois since 1999, and he is currently the chief of appeals.  He previously worked as an associate at Sidley Austin, and as a judicial law clerk to Judge Marvin Aspen in the Northern District of Illinois and Judge James Ryan on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. He has served as an adjunct professor at Northwestern University law school, where he graduated with honors and served on the law review. He lives in Northbrook.

Coleman is a judge on the Illinois Appellate Court, following her election in 2008. She served as a judge on the Circuit Court of Cook County from 1996 to 2008. Before that, she was a supervisor in the Cook County state’s attorney’s office and an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Illinois. She has served on the boards of numerous bar associations and public interest organizations. She is a graduate of Washington University law school in St. Louis, and she lives in Chicago.

Cox has been a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the Northern District of Illinois since 2007. She previously worked as a litigator at several Chicago law firms, as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Illinois, and as a judicial law clerk to Judge Wayne Andersen in that district. Judge Cox has served on the boards of many bar associations and public interest organizations. She has taught as an adjunct professor at DePaul University law school, and she is a graduate of Boston University law school, where she served on the law review. Judge Cox lives in LaGrange.

Durkin has been a partner at Mayer Brown since 1993 and was the chair of the firm’s pro bono committee for nearly a decade. He previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Illinois for over twelve years.  He served as a judicial law clerk to Judge Stanley Roszkowski in the Northern District of Illinois. He is a graduate of DePaul University law school, where he has taught as an adjunct professor. Durkin lives in Downers Grove.

Feinerman has been a partner at Sidley Austin since 2007. From 2003 to 2007, he served as Illinois’s solicitor general, and before that he was a partner at Mayer Brown.  He has argued numerous cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and Illinois Supreme Court. He served as a judicial law clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy on the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Joel Flaum on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in Chicago. He has served on numerous boards and is the president of the Appellate Lawyers Association of Illinois. He graduated from Stanford Law School and lives in Winnetka.

Rowland is a partner at the Chicago law firm of Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, where she has worked since 2000. From 1990 to 2000, she worked at the Federal Defender Program in Chicago, including five years as the chief appellate attorney. She has served on numerous boards. She was a judicial law clerk to Judge Julian Cook in the Eastern District of Michigan, and she is a graduate of the University of Chicago law school. Rowland lives in Oak Park.

Valdez has been a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the Northern District of Illinois since 2005. From 1992 to 2005, she was the Chicago regional counsel and staff attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Prior to that, she worked as a Deputy Federal Public Defender in California. She has served on many boards. She is a graduate of the University of California-Hastings law school, and she lives in Western Springs.

A hat tip to Ameet Sachdev at the Chicago Tribune’s Chicago Law Blog for identifying this story last week.