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

Tag Archives: Robert Bosch

Permissible Repair Doctrine Applies Where Patentee Recommends Changing the Accused Part

Posted in Summary Judgment

Robert Bosch LLC v. Trico Prods Corp., No. 12 C 437, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. May 21, 2014) (Grady, Sen. J.).

Judge Grady denied defendants’ (collectively “Trico”) motion for summary judgment of noninfringement with respect to Trico’s Duralast Flex Blade windshield wiper blade in this patent infringement dispute.  

As an initial matter, the Court held that a first sale in the United States is still required for patent exhaustion, even if a US first sale is not required for copyright exhaustion.  

To the extent that plaintiff Robert Bosch (“Bosch”) sold some wiper blades in the US, the Court addressed whether Trico’s acts fell within the doctrine of permissible repair.  The Court held that a consumer replacing the wiper blade in a wiper assembly with a Trico wiper blade was a permissible repair, noting that Bosch recommended replacing the blades every six months.  The Court also noted that there was an established market for replacement wiper blades.  But the Court withheld ruling upon the issue until there was a more developed record regarding the differences between patent claims that covered the entire wiper system and other claims that allegedly covered just the wiper blades, as well as related case law.

The Court held that there was not sufficient evidence that Bosch’s acquisition of Unipoint, from whom Trico purchased the accused products, prevented Bosch’s claims to pre-acquisition sales to Trico.  Trico failed to provide the relevant language of the acquisition agreements to determine whether the agreements prevented suits against customers.  And Trico did not support or sufficiently develop its theory that Bosch benefited from Unipoint’s pre-acquisition sales to Trico and therefore should be barred from suit.  The Court, therefore, denied the motion.

Induced Infringement Claims Need Not Use the Word “Induce”

Posted in Pleading Requirements

Snap-On Inc. v. Robert Bosch, LLC, No. 09 C 6914, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. July 11, 2012) (Kocoras, J.).

Judge Kocoras denied defendants’ Beissbarth GmbH (“Beissbarth”) and Robert Bosch, GmbH’s (“Bosch Germany”) (collectively “German Defendants”) Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss.  As an initial matter, the court denied plaintiff Snap-On’s argument that the motion was an improper Rule 12(b) motion pursuant to Rule 12(g)(2) because the German Defendants previously filed a Rule 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.  The Court ordered limited jurisdictional discovery prior to deciding that motion.  That discovery had become “highly contested.”  The German Defendants sought and received the Court’s leave to file this Rule 12(b)(6) motion because were the motion granted, it would have removed the need for that discovery.  The Rule 12(b)(6) motion, therefore, was not filed for dilatory purposes and it promoted the policies behind Rule 12(g).

Of particular note, the Court held the following with respect to the Rule 12(b)(6) motion:

  • General allegations that all defendants directly infringed were sufficient.  Snap-On was not required to make separate infringement allegations as to each defendant by name.
  • Snap-On’s claim that the German Defendants used the product in Illinois was sufficient to plead direct infringement.
  • Snap-On was not estopped from pursuing inducement claims based upon Snap-On’s statements to the Court regarding claiming direct infringement against the German Defendants.  Those statements were about direct infringement as opposed to joint infringement claims, and had no bearing upon indirect infringement claims.
  • Snap-On’s allegations were sufficient to plead inducement.  Snap-On alleged the German Defendants worked with defendant Robert Bosch USA to develop, price, and market the accused products and that Snap-On sent Bosch a warning letter prior to the US introduction of the accused product.  Snap-On’s failure to use the words “induce” or “inducement” did not doom its claim because Snap-On still pled the elements of inducement.

Claim Construction Reversal Requires New Trial

Posted in Claim Construction

Black & Decker, Inc. v. Robert Bosch Tool Corp., No. 2007-1243, 1244, Slip Op. (Fed. Cir. Jan. 7, 2008).*

The Federal Circuit affirmed the Northern District jury’s obviousness verdict, and Judge St. Eve’s denial of defendant’s inequitable conduct claim. But the Federal Circuit reversed the Northern District’s construction of “power conversion circuit” and remanded for further proceedings and, perhaps, a new trial.** The Federal Circuit held that the Northern District relied largely upon claim differentiation for its construction and, in the process, gave the patent scope beyond the disclosed invention.

The Federal Circuit held that the Northern District’s pre-KSR obviousness jury instruction was not reversible because defendants identified no evidence in the record that supported an obviousness finding even under the broader KSR standard.

* Click here for extensive coverage of this case in the Blog’s archives.

**  The Court scheduled a status conference early next week.  We may learn at that conference whether a new trial is being scheduled or whether summary judgment will be briefed or a settlement conference scheduled first.

Injunctions Post-eBay

Posted in Legal News

Brian Higgins’s Maryland IP Law Blog post about the progeny of In re Seagate, 497 F.3d 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2007), inspired me to do follow up posts identifying Northern District cases discussing recent major IP decisions.  The first looks at cases discussing eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, L.L.C., 126 S.Ct. 1837, 164 L.Ed.2d 641 (2006).  Here they are:*

For further analysis of post-eBay decisions, check out my post about Michael Smith’s analysis (click here) and my post discussing Ray Nimmer’s thoughts on the potential for compulsory licensing regimes because of eBay (click here).

*  A brief note on methodology:  this was not a thorough study and does not include cases that granted or denied injunctions without discussion.  For a more comprehensive list of decisions nationwide (updated through the end of 2007) go to the Fire of Genius.

Willfulness Post-Seagate

Posted in Damages

Brian Higgins at the Maryland IP Law Blog posted an analysis of significant willfulness decisions post-In re Seagate, 497 F.3d 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2007) — click here for the post and click here for a subsequent post discussing Se-Kure Controls, Inc. v. Diam USA, Inc., No. 06 C 4857, 2008 WL 169029 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 17, 2008) (Cox, Mag. J.).  Of the eleven decisions Higgins identified, three were Northern District decisions and one was a Federal Circuit decision analyzing a Northern District case.  Here are my posts on the Northern District decisions:

As you can infer from the relatively small number of cases identified by Higgins, there remains a lot of law to be written about Seagate before the standard is well settled.  I suspect that within 18-24 months there will be a relatively large body of law, including numerous Federal Circuit decisions exploring the new standard’s outlines.  Until then, patent litigants will face a degree of uncertainty regarding willfulness.  Of course, defendants will generally be glad to have some uncertainty in exchange for plaintiffs’s higher willfulness hurdle.

Changed Circumstances Warrant Dismissal With Costs, Not Attorney’s Fees

Posted in Legal News

Milwaukee Elec. Tool Corp. v. Robert Bosch Tool Corp., No. 05 C 1171, 2007 WL 2875232 (N.D. Ill. Sep. 28, 2004) (Kendall, J.)

Judge Kendall granted plaintiff’s motion to dismiss its Lanham Act case with prejudice and awarded defendant its costs but not its fees pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1117(a). The Court held that attorney’s fees were not warranted because the case and its dismissal after substantial fact discovery were not exceptional. Plaintiff dismissed its case because of two significant events which plaintiff believed reduced its likelihood of success.

            First, during discovery Congress passed the Trademark Dilution Revision Act (“TDRA”)* which changed the definition of “famous” such that fame within a niche market was no longer sufficient for dilution. Plaintiff was not certain it could prove fame outside its market. Second, defendant changed the trade dress, and particularly the color scheme, of its accused SKIL line of power tools. Plaintiff believed that defendant’s new trade dress was less similar to plaintiff’s and, therefore, plaintiff’s case was more difficult to prove. The Court accepted plaintiff’s reasoning and, therefore, held that the case was not exceptional. The Court did, however, award costs, which plaintiff had originally agreed it would pay.

* For more on the TDRA, click here for the Seattle Trademark Lawyer’s coverage of the TDRA this week in honor of the TDRA’s first anniversary.

Northern District’s First Post-MedImmune DJ Decision

Posted in Jurisdiction

Black & Decker, Inc. v. Robert Bosch Tool Corp., No. 06 C 4440, Min. Order (N.D. Ill. Jul. 13, 2007) (Manning, J.).*

In the first Northern District opinion to address the Supreme Court’s MedImmune declaratory judgment standard, Judge Manning denied plaintiff Black & Decker’s (“B&D”) motion to dismiss defendant Robert Bosch Tool Corp.’s ("Bosch") declaratory judgment counterclaims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. In a prior case between the parties before Judge St. Eve (numerous prior opinions are discussed in the Blog’s archives), B&D asserted that two models of Bosch’s Power Box radio (the "Old Power Box") infringed B&D’s two patents (the "Old Patents").  Shortly before Judge St. Eve held trial in the previous case, B&D brought this suit against Bosch asserting that Bosch’s new model of its Power Box radio (the "New Power Box") infringed a third patent (the "New Patent").  At about the same time, B&D sought leave to present evidence at trial before Judge St. Eve that the New Power Box infringed the Old Patents.  Judge St. Eve, however, held that B&D had not disclosed the New Power Box as an accused product and that Bosch would be prejudiced by adding it immediately before trial.  After the trial before Judge St. Eve, the jury returned a verdict that the Old Power Boxes willfully infringed certain claims of the Old Patents.

Continue Reading

Infringement Verdict on Old Product Precludes Suit on New Product

Posted in Federal Rules

Black & Decker, Inc. v. Robert Bosch Tool Corp., No. 06 C 4440, 2007 WL 1232089 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 25, 2007) (Manning, J.).

Judge Manning granted defendant’s, Robert Bosch Tool Corp. ("Bosch") Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings, holding that plaintiff’s, Black & Decker ("B&D"), patent infringement claims against Bosch’s new product regarding B&D’s previously asserted patents were barred by res judicata.  In the prior case before Judge St. Eve (numerous prior opinions are discussed in the Blog’s archives), B&D asserted that two models of Bosch’s Power Box radio (the "Old Power Box") infringed B&D’s two patents (the "Old Patents").  Shortly before trial before Judge St. Eve, B&D brought the instant suit against Bosch asserting that Bosch’s new model of its Power Box radio (the "New Power Box") infringed a third patent (the "New Patent").  At about the same time, B&D sought leave to present evidence at trial before Judge St. Eve that the New Power Box infringed the Old Patents.  Judge St. Eve, however, held that B&D had not disclosed the New Power Box as an accused product and that Bosch would be prejudiced by adding it immediately before trial.  After the trial before Judge St. Eve, the jury returned a verdict that the Old Power Boxes willfully infringed certain claims of the Old Patents.

Continue Reading

Jury’s Anticipation and Obviousness Determinations Are Not Supported By Legally Sufficeint Evidence

Posted in Trial

Black & Decker Inc. v. Robert Bosch Tool Corp., No. 04 C 7955, 2006 WL 3883286 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 18, 2006) (St. Eve, J.).*

Judge St. Eve granted judgment as a matter of law for plaintiff, holding that the jury’s findings of invalidity and obviousness were not supported by legally sufficient evidence.  At trial, defendant introduced an article describing a prior art radio as 102(b) prior art using its expert.  But the expert testified that one of the claim elements was missing.  Defendant argued that pictures of the radio that were not used in the article, showed the device.  But the Court held that defendant could not piece together the article, testimony and pictures to prove that the article disclosed all elements of the claimed invention.  The jury’s obviousness finding was not supported by legally sufficient evidence because defendant did not present clear and convincing evidence of a motivation to combine its obviousness prior art references.

* You can find much more on this case in the Blog’s archives.

Jury’s Alleged Inconsistencies and Errors Do Not Warrant New Trial or JMOL

Posted in Trial

Black & Decker Inc. v. Robert Bosch Tool Corp., No. 04 C 7955, 2007 WL 108412 (N.D. Ill. Jan 12, 2007) (St. Eve, J.).

Judge St. Eve denied defendant’s motion for a new trial, altered judgment or judgment as a matter of law in this patent dispute (more on this case and the injunction in the Blog’s archives).  Defendant first argued that the jury’s infringement findings on various claim elements were not supported by the facts.  The Court denied each argument, citing facts that supported the jury’s infringement findings.  Defendant also argued that the jury’s verdict that claim 1 of USPN 6,788,925 (the "’925 patent") was valid while the almost identical claim 2 of the ’925 patent was invalid was inconsistent.  Defendant sought an altered judgment or a new trial as a remedy.  The Court first noted that several Circuits would have waived this objection because defendant did not object to the alleged inconsistency when the jury rendered its verdict.  But because the Seventh Circuit has not directly ruled on the issue (the matter is governed by region-specific law because it is a procedural matter), the Court did not waive the objection.  The Court did, however, waive any arguments Defendant first made in its reply brief.  Having addressed the procedural posture of the arguments, the Court held that the jury’s validity findings on the two claims was sufficiently supported.  Because the two claims, although substantially the same, had different elements, the Court held that a rational jury could have come to different validity conclusions for each claim and denied defendant’s request for a new trial. 

Make Your Arguments Early and Often: Counsel are Both Advocates and Officers of the Court

Posted in Legal News

Black & Decker Inc. v. Robert Bosch Tool Corp., No. 04 C 7955, 2006 WL 3883937 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 27, 2006) (St. Eve, J.).

Judge St. Eve denied defendant’s emergency motion to prohibit plaintiff from sending Rule 65(d) notice letters regarding the Court’s permanent injunction to defendant’s customers (more on this case and the injunction in the Blog’s archives). But before analyzing defendant’s emergency motion, the Court first addressed defendant’s prior motion to clarify the injunction which the Court previously denied. In the motion to clarify, defendant stated that it had sold approximately 150,000 infringing radios to various resellers prior to being enjoined. Defendant argued that those resellers should be free to sell their supplies of infringing radios. The Court denied the motion because it was first raised in a sur-reply brief regarding plaintiff’s motion for a permanent injunction without presentation of any detailed facts, legal argument or supporting case law. 

Continue Reading

Jury’s Award Is Supported By The Evidence

Posted in Trial

Black & Decker Inc. v. Robert Bosch Tool Corp., No. 04 C 7955, 2006 WL 3883286 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 18, 2006) (St. Eve, J.).*

Judge St. Eve denied defendant’s motion for vacature of a lost profits award and for a new trial.  First, defendant argued that the jury’s finding that it induced infringement could not stand because it shipped the product at issue with an AC power cord (non-infringing) and a battery (infringing), but plaintiff had not shown that each individual sale of a product resulted in an infringing use.  Prior to trial defendant argued that plaintiff must show a one-to-one correspondence between each unit sold and a customer’s direct infringement citing Chiuminatta concrete Concepts, Inc. v. Cardinal Indus., Inc., 1 Fed. Appx. 879 (Fed. Cir. 2001) (unpublished op.).  The Court denied that argument.  In its post-trial motion, defendant argued that proof of sales is not sufficient for an award of induced infringement citing Golden Blount, Inc. v. Robert H. Peterson Co., 438 F.3d 1354 (Fed. Cir. 2006).  But the Court distinguished Golden Blount because the issue in that case was that some product was returned to the alleged infringer before being assembled into an infringing product, which may or may not have been sold.  There was no induced infringement because the product at issue may never have been sold.  In the instant case, the Court held that the product with the infringing configuration had been sold and, therefore, upheld the jury’s finding of induced infringement.

Continue Reading

Permanent Injunction

Posted in Legal News

Black & Decker Inc. v. Robert Bosch Tool Corp., No. 04 C 7955, 2006 WL 3883919 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 7, 2006) (St. Eve, J.).

This is Judge St. Eve’s permanent injunction order (numerous opinions from this case and its resulting jury trial have been analyzed in the Blog and can be found in the Blog’s archives).  The injunction is notable for its thoroughness, in describing both the claims at issue and the enjoined products or classes of products.  The order even includes electrical schematics of a portion of the enjoined invention.

Costs Awarded to Plaintiff Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 54(d)

Posted in Federal Rules

Black & Decker v. Robert Bosch Tool Corp., No. 04 C 7955, 2006 WL 3883921 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 20, 2006) (St. Eve, J.).

Judge St. Eve’s latest opinion in this patent dispute awarded plaintiff its costs pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 54(d) over defendant’s objection that plaintiff’s alleged misconduct.  My analysis of Judge St. Eve’s opinion which analyzed defendant’s misconduct allegations, as well as opinions addressing numerous other aspects of this case and the resulting trial, can be found in the Blog’s archives.  In response to defendant’s allegations of misconduct, the Court cited her previous opinion finding that there was no misconduct and noted that counsel for both parties "exhibited rigorous advocacy on behalf of their clients."  The remainder of the opinion determined which requested fees were appropriate.  It serves as an excellent primer on what fees will be paid in the Northern District and what acceptable charges are for those fees.

Court Denies Post-Trial Motions Upholding The Jury’s Willfulness Finding

Posted in Trial

Black & Decker Inc. v. Robert Bosch Tool Corp., No. 04 C 7955, 2006 WL 3783006 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 22, 2006) (St. Eve, J.).

Having already denied plaintiff summary judgment on defendant’s inequitable conduct defense (here) and increased damages 50% and awarded prejudgment interest compounded monthly (here), the Court denied defendant’s motions for judgment as a matter of law, to alter the willfulness judgment and for a new trial.  The Court’s denial of these sort of post-trial motions is far from surprising, in light of the substantial burdens that must be overcome to win them.  Of special note, defendant argued that the jury’s willfulness determination was not valid because the evidence relied upon was defendant’s knowledge of a competing product that it believed to constitute patented technology, not defendant’s knowledge of the specific patents that were infringed.  The Court held that the relevant inquiry is the infringer’s knowledge of the existence of patent rights, not specific patents.

The Jury’s Willful Infringement Finding Leads to 50% Enhanced Damages

Posted in Trial

Black & Decker Inc. v. Robert Bosch Tool Corp., No. 04 C 7955, 2006 WL 3359349 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 20, 2006) (St. Eve, J.).

In this post-trial opinion, Judge St. Eve denies plaintiff’s motion for attorney’s fees, enhances the jury’s damages award by 50% pursuant to 35 USC Section 284 and awards plaintiff prejudgment interest compounded monthly.  Despite the jury’s willfulness finding the Court held that attorney’s fees were not warranted because defendant’s advocacy was consistently professional and the substantive positions it argued were largely meritorious.

Continue Reading