Not Dead Yet Manufacturing, Inc. d/b/a/ NDY MFG, Inc. v. Pride Sol’ns., LLC, No. 13 C 3418, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Nov. 28, 2016) (Pallmeyer, J.).

Judge Pallmeyer granted in part plaintiff NDY’s FRE 702 motion to exclude certain portions of defendants’ noninfringement expert report in this patent dispute related to a quick connect and disconnect system for stalk stompers – devices attached to the front end of farm equipment that knocks down the stumps of harvested plants to avoid tire or vehicle damage.

Of particular note, the Court held as follows:

  • The Court excluded the expert’s opinion that a “plate member” was synonymous with the construed term “support member.” Defining “plate member” is an improper effort to construe the claims. The expert opinions regarding the construction, therefore, are excluded. The Court, however, noted that either party could move the Court to construe an additional term. At that time, the Court would determine whether it would be proper to construe “plate member” and whether defendants had waived the right to seek construction of “plate member” by not raising it during the claim construction process set by the Court.
  • The Court excluded the expert’s opinion regarding structural integrity because it was irrelevant to the claimed invention. Additionally, the expert opinions were improper because they were based upon a comparison of the accused products to a preferred embodiment, as opposed to the claimed invention.
  • The Court excluded the expert’s opinion regarding whether the accused product required a pin while not in use because they were irrelevant. The Court construed the relevant element – “retention means” – to prevent the plate member’s cross bar from disengaging while in use. So, the requirement for a pin while not in use was irrelevant to the claims.
  • The Court excluded the expert’s statements that plaintiff’s expert’s decision to group claim elements was improper. That was a legal question for the Court to decide.
  • The Court excluded testimony regarding irrelevant features of the accused product.
  • The Court allowed the expert’s testimony as to whether a part that bent could still be considered a plate.