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.”).