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Chicago IP Litigation Tracking Northern District of Illinois IP Cases

Tag Archives: Reconsideration

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.”).

Reconsideration Requires New Arguments or Facts

Posted in Claim Construction

AmTab Mfg. Corp. v. SICO Inc., No. 11 C 2692, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Aug. 13, 2012) (Darrah, J.).

Judge Darrah denied plaintiff AmTab’s motion for reconsideration of the Court’s prior claim construction order.  While claim construction is an organic process that can be revised throughout a case, AmTab did not present any new arguments.  Even the new construction relied upon old arguments.  The Court, therefore, denied the motion. 

Court Reconstrues “Cooking Enclosure”

Posted in Claim Construction

Morningware, Inc. v. Hearthware Home Prods., Inc., No. 09 C 4348, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Apr. 12, 2011) (St. Eve, J.).

Judge St. Eve granted defendant Hearthware’s motion for reconsideration holding that the claim term cooking enclosure required no construction. The Court originally construed "cooking enclosure" to mean "an oven housing and a metallic oven pan supported by a base." The Court held that the instruction imported a claim limitation. Furthermore, the doctrine of claim differentiation required broader constructions because other independent claims that further defined the cooking enclosure as having a metallic oven pan as a base were made superfluous by the original construction.

The Court also held that Hearthware’s motion should have been brought pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b) which gives the Court authority to reconsider its interlocutory decisions, not Rule 59(e) which only applies once the Court has entered judgment.

Product Sales Including Infringing Product is Evidence of Commercial Success

Posted in Trial

Krippelz v. Ford Motor Co., No. 98 C 2361, Min. Order (N.D. Ill. Dec. 5, 2008) (Zagel, J.).

Judge Zagel ruled upon various motions in limine.  Of particular interest, the Court denied defendants motion for reconsideration of the Court’s grant of summary judgment of infringement.  The Court held that the evidence defendant used to create a material question of fact was inadmissible.  And while the motion could be construed to include new arguments, they were too late to overcome summary judgment.

The Court also granted plaintiff’s motion to preclude defendant’s evidence of noninfringing alternatives because plaintiff was only seeking a reasonable royalty, not lost profits.  Finally, the Court denied defendant’s motion to exclude evidence of defendant’s vehicle sales as evidence of commercial excess.  While it is unlikely that anyone purchased a vehicle because of the infringing puddle lamp, the fact that defendant used the lamps in its vehicles and sold a "fair number" is evidence of commercial success.

Pre-KSR & Pre-Seagate Decisions Upheld Pursuant to New Law

Posted in Legal News

Ball Aerosol and Specialty Container, Inc. v. Limited Brands, Inc., No. 05 C 3684, 2008 WL 839993 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 27, 2008) (Der-Yeghiayan, J.).

Judge Der-Yeghiayan denied defendants’ (collectively "Limited Brands") motion for reconsideration regarding the Court’s claim construction opinion and its summary judgment opinions of infringement, validity and damages – click here to read more about those opinions in the Blog’s archives. The Court previously construed the claims of plaintiff Ball Aerosol’s ("BASC") patent covers a candle tine. The Court granted BASC summary judgment of infringement and validity, pre-KSR. When KSR revised the obviousness standard, the Court sua sponte ordered supplemental briefing regarding obviousness in light of KSR. Based upon that briefing, the Court again granted summary judgment of validity. The Court then granted BASC summary judgment on damages awarding it 20% royalties and finding Limited Brand’s infringement willful.

The Court held that its original claim construction, validity and infringement holdings were correct and that Limited Brands had been given ample opportunities to defend itself. The Court also denied Limited Brands’ argument that reasonable royalties could not be decided on summary judgment. Limited Brands’ Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial regarding damages had not been violated. There is no right to a jury without a material question of fact.

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Court Denies Claim Construction Reconsideration Motion

Posted in Claim Construction

Easypower Corp. v. Alden Corp., __ F. Supp.2d __, 2007 WL 4191837 (N.D.Ill. Nov. 21, 2007) (Denlow, Mag. J.).

Judge Denlow denied defendant Alden Corp.’s (“Alden”) motion for reconsideration of the Court’s construction of “acute angle relative to the axis.” The Court’s construction required an angle less than 90°, and further required that if there were two or more angles, any two angles together be greater than 90°. Alden argued that the requirement regarding two or more angles was improperly read into the claim without support in the specification. But the Court held that the limitation was required based upon the clear language of the specification. Additionally, the Court noted that the parties were given ample opportunities to argue the issue, both on the papers and during the Markman hearing.

Reconsidered Claim Construction Leads to Summary Judgment of Noninfringement

Posted in Discovery

Baldwin Graphic Sys., Inc. v. Siebert, Inc., No. 03 C 7713, 2007 WL 1610449 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 21, 2007) (Moran, J.).*

Judge Moran granted defendant Siebert’s motion for reconsideration of the Court’s earlier claim construction ruling.  Based upon it reconsidered construction, the Court granted Siebert summary judgment of noninfringement of plaintiff Baldwin Graphic Systems’ (“Baldwin”) patent claiming printing press cleaning components. The Court originally construed the claims at issue and then denied Siebert’s first motion for reconsideration in 2005 — the Court held that Siebert’s 2005 motion for reconsideration simply repackaged arguments the Court considered in its original claim construction opinion. At that time the Court construed “reduced air content cleaning fabric” as not excluding fabric having its air content reduced by winding or rewinding the fabric on to a roll. In its current motion, Siebert argued that “reduced air content cleaning fabric” includes only fabric having its air content reduced by mechanical means before being wound on to a roll. The Court acknowledged that this was a new argument and, therefore, considered it.  The Court held that the claim language itself was not helpful in construing the term, but the language of the dependent claims combined with the patent’s specification made clear that “reduced air content cleaning fabric” required that the fabric have its air content reduced by “some method” before being wound on to a roll. Because there was no evidence that Siebert’s fabric underwent no mechanical process for removing air prior to being wound on to a roll, the Court granted Siebert summary judgment of noninfringement.

This opinion is especially remarkable because, while I do not have statistics confirming this, motions for reconsideration do not have a high success rate.  And it is even more rare for a second motion for reconsideration of the same opinion to succeed.

* You can read more about this case in the Blog’s archives.

Claim Construction Cannot Be Argued in LR 56.1 Statements

Posted in Claim Construction

PSN Illinois, LLC v. Ivoclar Vivadent, Inc., No. 04 C 7232, 2006 WL 3523760 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 7, 2006) (Kendall, J.).

Judge Kendall denied plaintiff’s Fed. R. Civ. P. 59 motion for reconsideration of the Court’s prior ruling (discussed in the Blog’s archives) construing the claims of the patent at issue and granting summary judgment of noninfringement on behalf of defendant Ivoclar Vivadent, Inc. ("Ivoclar").  The Court denied plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration because it considered each of plaintiff’s reconsideration arguments in its original Opinion granting summary judgment.  But the Court spent some time on one of plaintiff’s claim construction arguments regarding a patent related to porcelain veneers.  On reconsideration, plaintiff argued for a different construction of "ready for mounting."  In its original papers plaintiff did not argue for the proposed construction, although it did propose it in its Local Rule 56.1 Additional Statement of Material Facts.  The Court held that because claim construction is a matter of law, proposed constructions are not material facts and, therefore, cannot be put in LR 56.1 statements.  The Court noted its obligation pursuant to LR 56.1 to disregard legal arguments and conclusions placed in statements of fact.  The Court did, however, go on to consider plaintiff’s construction and explain why the Court’s original construction was correct.

Practice tip:  Think carefully about what goes into your LR 56.1 statements of material fact.  Do not put arguments in your statements of fact. And by all means, do not put arguments in your statements of fact and then omit those arguments from your brief. The Court will disregard them, and you will be out of luck. 

Reconstruing Claims

Posted in Uncategorized

Cummins-Allison Corp. v. Glory Ltd., __ F.Supp.2d __, 2006 WL 2931999 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 13, 2006) (Kendall, J.).

Judge Kendall performed a very thorough claim construction in this opinion, but what is most interesting about it is the procedural history.  The Court (with another judge presiding) initially construed the claims at issue in March 2005, without holding a Markman hearing.  Plaintiff then sought reconsideration regarding one of the patents at issue and defendant sought reconsideration regarding the other.  The Court ultimately granted both motions and held a Markman hearing, which is the basis of this opinion.   

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