Judge Chang denied defendant Artsana USA f/k/a Chicco’s summary judgment motion, except for a specific limitation on willful infringement, in this patent dispute involving infant play gyms.
First, the Court held that a jury could reasonably determine that Artsana’s connectors pivotally connected to the mat. The original design was a fold of fabric with a snap. The snap connected the play gym to the mat and the fabric could be found to pivot at its seam. In the first and second redesigns, while a fabric strap sewn into the mat could not pivot, the fabric loop at the end of the strap could be found to pivot. In the second redesign, the play gym arms were connected at a hub. That hub could be reasonably held to be a pivotal connection. The Court, therefore, denied summary judgment.
The Court held that Artsana could not be found to willfully infringe before the date of a phone call from Kolcraft’s CEO to Artsana’s CEO that allegedly referenced the patent at issue. That call, to the extent that a jury credits it as creating knowledge, was the earliest Artsana could be found to willfully infringe.
A lack of marking did not limit Kolcraft’s damages claims because during the relevant period, Kolcraft was not making a covered product and, therefore, had no marking obligation.
Kolcraft did not need to prove use for every instance of method claim infringement in order to be awarded damages. Kolcraft presented evidence that at least one person performed the claimed method. From their reasonable royalty damages could potentially be based upon other expert analysis and calculations.
Finally, fact issues did not allow the Court to resolve Artsana’s claims that the patents did not properly name all of the inventors. Those issues would have to be resolved by the jury at trial.