In re AD-II Eng’ing., Inc., Misc. Docket No. 07-852, Slip Op. (Fed. Cir. May 29, 2007).*
The Federal Circuit denied defendant AD-II Engineering’s (“AD-II”) writ of mandamus seeking to prevent Judge Gettleman from considering plaintiff SRAM Corp.’s (“SRAM”) motion to amend its complaint to add infringement allegations on a new claim and related summary judgment motion as to infringement of that claim. SRAM sued AD-II alleging infringement of SRAM’s patent for a system of shifting bicycle gears that prevents overshifting. The Northern District Court previously construed the claims of the claim initially asserted by SRAM, found the patent claim valid and entered judgment in favor of SRAM and an injunction against AD-II, a subset of these decisions are set out at SRAM Corp. v. AD-II Eng’ing, Inc., 326 F. Supp.2d 903 (N.D. Ill. 2005). On AD-II’s appeal of that decision, the Federal Circuit overturned the claim construction and, therefore, vacated the final judgments on validity and infringement – SRAM Corp., 465 F.3d 1351 (Fed. Cir. 2006). On remand, SRAM sought to amend its complaint asserting an additional claim and moved for summary judgment of infringement of the claim to be added. At a hearing on SRAM’s motions, the Northern District Court noted that there were problems with SRAM’s late effort to amend its complaint and add infringement allegations, but set a briefing schedule for SRAM’s summary judgment motion. AD-II then filed this writ of mandamus. The Federal Circuit refused to prevent briefing of SRAM’s summary judgment motion, reasoning that AD-II’s writ was premature because the Northern District Court had not yet decided whether to allow SRAM to assert its additional claim.
The Federal Circuit also held that it would be inappropriate for it to enter judgment that SRAM’s originally asserted claim was invalid based upon a third reexamination of SRAM’s patent. AD-II had not made a showing that it could not get the relief requested from the Northern District Court or through an appeal of any decision by the Northern District Court. The extraordinary step of mandamus was, therefore, not proper.
* Because the Federal Circuit’s opinion is not published, you can read it here.