Vanguard Prods. Group, Inc. v. Diam USA, Inc., No. 05 C 1323, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. May 16, 2007) (Bucklo, J.).*
Judge Bucklo granted plaintiffs summary judgment of infringement and denied defendants summary judgment of invalidity. The Court first construed the two claim terms at issue — "electrically coupled" and "via the modular connector." In both cases, the Court adopted the plaintiffs’ construction after a detailed review of the intrinsic and extrinsic evidence. Because neither term was in the original application or appears in the specification, the intrinsic evidence focused on the use of the terms within the claims. Defendants also attempted to use claim language from a parent application to support their constructions, but the Court held that the prosecution of a term in a parent application generally does not limit different terms in its progeny. In the instant case, the Court found that the parent application had used the broader term "electrical connection" instead of "electrically coupled" which weighed against defendants’ construction. Having ruled in plaintiffs’ favor on the claim construction, the Court held that defendants’ products infringed the asserted claims of plaintiffs’ patents. And the Court held that defendants’ asserted prior art did not anticipate plaintiffs’ patents.
* Because I beat Westlaw on this one, you can access a copy of the Court’s opinion here. Please note that the Court issued a subsequent order modifying the opinion by deleting footnotes three and four, which were not intended to be part of the opinion.