Minemyer v. R-Boc Reps., Inc., No. 7 C 1763, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. May 11, 2012) (Cole, Mag. J.).

Judge Cole denied defendant Grimsley’s Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2) motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction in this patent dispute.  As an initial matter, the motion was denied as waived.  Judge Coar denied

Minemyer v. R-Boc Reps., Inc., No. 07 C 1763, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Feb. 15, 2012) (Cole, Mag. J.).

Magistrate Judge Cole admitted a third party Power Point presentation in this patent litigation.  The Court originally granted defendant’s motion in limine excluding the presentation, although allowing plaintiff’s expert to rely upon the document because

Minemyer v. R-Boc Reps., Inc., No. 07 C 1763, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Feb. 6, 2012) (Cole, Mag. J.).

Magistrate Judge Cole held that a Verizon Power Point presentation related to an RFP for some of the accused products was admissible in this patent litigation involving couplers. Initially, the document was authentic pursuant to

Minemyer v. B-Roc Reps., Inc., No. 07 C 1763, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Mar. 22, 2011) (Cole, Mag. J.).
Judge Cole denied defendants’ summary judgment of noninfringement. The motion was premised upon an effort to amend the construction of “approximately perpendicular” which the parties previously agrees was “approximately ninety degrees” to no more than five degrees away from a ninety-degree angle. Defendants’ accused couplers had threads at an eighty degree angle – ten degrees away from ninety degrees. But the parties had already cancelled their claim construction process because they agreed upon all constructions, including that approximately perpendicular meant approximately ninety degrees.” Even if the arguments were timely, and not a “back door” attempt to avoid the Court’s schedule, defendants’ evidence did not support their construction:
The inventor’s testimony suggested ten degrees did not meet the “approximate” modifier. But the inventor’s testimony is heavily discounted if not disregarded, in claim construction.
The parties experts also opined that ten percent was outside “approximate.” But that was evidence for the trier of fact to weight in considering infringement.
The examiner’s use of “perpendicular” without the “approximately” modifier was irrelevant because the allowed claim contains the modifier.

Continue Reading Court Refuses “Back Door” Attempt at Claim Construction

Minemyer v. B-Roc Reps., Inc., No. 07 C 1763, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Oct. 27, 2009) (Cole, Mag. J.)*
Judge Cole granted summary judgment of invalidity based upon the §102(b) on-sale bar and denied summary judgment as to invalidity based upon §102(b) public use and obviousness.
Priority Date
Plaintiff argued that its pipe coupler patent was entitled to the priority date of its provisional application because the provisional application disclosed in the drawings the tapered threads at issue, although they were not described in the specification. The Court held that figures showing tapered threads would be sufficient, but that the figures did not show tapered threads. Plaintiff alleged that enlargements of the figures showed a 1% taper. But the Court held that the original drawing did not “convey” the tapered threads with “reasonable clarity.” Even the enlargement showed “no true tapers.” Because the provisional application did not disclose the taper, the patent’s priority date was its filing date.
On-Sale Bar
The Court held that plaintiff admitted he offered the patented couplers for sale more than one year before the filing date, also known as the critical date. Plaintiff also admitted both in interrogatory responses and at deposition that his invention had been reduced to practice at the time of the offer. Plaintiff claimed that the use was experimental, but the court held that the claim was not properly supported by evidence in plaintiff’s Local Rule 56.1 statement of material facts.
Public Use Bar
The Court denied summary judgment based upon the public use bar. The alleged prior art device was asserted against other claims in defendants’ invalidity contentions, but not against the claim at issue, claim 12. Furthermore, the evidence of the alleged prior art coupler was provided by a witness that was not disclosed in defendants’ Rule 26 disclosures or their interrogatory responses. He was first identified in a subpoena at the end of fact discovery.
Defendant’s obviousness arguments were based upon the same prior art as the public use bar prior art. So, summary judgment was not appropriate for similar reasons. Additionally, defendants arguments were cursory and did not even cite case law.
* Click here for more on this case in the Blog’s archives.

Continue Reading Patent Disclosure Includes the Specification and the Drawings

Minemyer v. B-Roc Reps., Inc., No 07 C 1763, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Nov. 9, 2009) (Cole, Mag. J.).
Judge Cole granted in part defendants’ motion to extend the trial date. The Court continued the trial, but not to the early 2010 date defendants requested. Instead, the Court continued the trial until early 2011. An early 2010 trial date would have prevented plaintiff from attending the patent trial because plaintiff begins serving a one-year federal prison sentence in December 2009. The Court held that holding a trial that plaintiff would be unable to attend in person would prejudice plaintiff. Instead, the Court delayed the trial until plaintiff will be able to attend. Plaintiff argued that he would be prejudiced by the one-year delay because his damage award would be delayed an additional year. The Court, however, held that any prejudice from a delayed award was too speculative to be considered because there was no way to know that plaintiff would be awarded any damages. Additionally, the Court noted that the delay would benefit plaintiff if he ultimately prevails because his award would include an additional year of damages.

Continue Reading Court Delays Trial One Year

Boler Co. v. ArvinMeritor, Inc., No. 03 C 489, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Jul. 2, 2008) (Cole, Mag. J.).
Judge Cole decided various discovery and protective order issues in this patent infringement dispute. Of particular note, the Court denied defendant’s motion to preclude inspection of items that were commercially available. The Court held that commercially available items were discoverable and that because the items were commercially available there were no protective order implications.
The Court also refused to consider certain oral motions, likely those that the parties could have filed before the hearing, because the Court’s standing order required that motions be briefed. Always make sure to read the Court’s standing order, as well as the Local Rules.

Continue Reading Commercially Available Products are Discoverable

Lorillard v. Montrose Wholesale Candies & Sundries, Inc., No. 03 C 5311 & 4844, 2008 WL 1775512 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 17, 2008) (Aspen, J.).
Judge Aspen adopted Magistrate Judge Cole’s Report and Recommendation, denying defendants’ Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e) motion to alter the Court’s judgment against defendants – click here to read more about that Report and click here to read more about this case in the Blog’s archives. The Court awarded plaintiff Lorillard $2.5M in statutory damages for defendants’ sales of counterfeit cigarettes using Lorillard’s trademarks. Defendants objected to, among other things, a statutory damages award in excess of $1M. Defendants argued that 15 U.S.C. § 1117(c)(2) only allowed $1M in statutory damages per type of goods sold. Because this case only involved one type of goods, cigarettes, defendants argued statutory damages could not exceed $1M. But the Court held that the limitation was $1M per counterfeit mark per type of good. Because Lorillard alleged five counterfeit marks were used, the statutory damages limit was $5M.

Continue Reading Counterfeiting Statutory Damages are up to $1M/Trademark

Lorillard Tobacco Co. v. Montrose Wholesale Candies & Sundries, Inc., No. 03 C 5311 & 0844, 2008 WL 954161 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 8, 2008) (Cole, Mag. J.).
Judge Cole denied plaintiff’s motion for inspection and seizure of assets in its trademark counterfeiting case. The Court previously entered judgment for plaintiff – click here for more about this case in the Blog’s archives. Plaintiff brought this motion seeking to identify and seize cash, checks and other financial instruments to satisfy the judgment. The Court held that the motion essentially sought a search warrant directed by plaintiff and utilizing Federal Marshals:
The reality is that the motion is tantamount to a request for a search warrant for Lorillard to enter and search the home of Ray and Sandra Hazemi and the business premises of Montrose Wholesale Candies and Sundries, Inc. (which is owned by them) and for permission to seize any cash, checks or other negotiable instruments belonging to the Hazemis and Montrose and to seize or at least copy all of their financial and accounting records. Nothing in the Motion, itself, suggests that the search and seizure will be accomplished by anyone other than Lorillard. It is not until one looks at the Proposed Order granting the motion that there is even a motion of United States Marshals. But even then, it is Lorillard, through its counsel of record, who is to carry out the search and seizure. The Marshals are merely to accompany Lorillard.
The Court held that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure did not authorize search warrants. The Court further held that the request was not like a seizure of counterfeit goods, which was authorized by 15 U.S.C. § 1116(d)(1)(A), because it sought a post-judgment search to satisfy a judgment.

Continue Reading Federal Rules Do Not Authorize Civil Search and Seizure

Autotech Techs. Ltd. Partnership v. Automationdirect.com, Inc., No. 05 C 5488 2008 WL 783301 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 25, 2008) (Cole, Mag. J.).*
Judge Cole granted in part defendant Automationdirect.com’s (“ADC”) motion to compel additional records from plaintiff Autotech’s database. The parties agreed that an ADC expert would be allowed to develop queries which Autotech would run on its database. After a dispute regarding how to produce the results of the search, the Court ordered production of the documents, which related to records of, among other things, customer confusion. Upon review of the records, ADC demanded that Autotech supplement them with information such as the date of the communication and the identity of the Autotech employees involved. Autotech eventually supplemented the documents with an index identifying, among other things, the identity of the Autotech employee involved in each communication, but not the dates of the communications. ADC moved to compel the production of all fields in Autotech’s database for each entry identified by ADC’s query. But Autotech countered that it had produced all fields generated by ADC’s expert’s query. Had the query generated all available fields, they, presumably, would have been produced them all. Because Autotech produced the information generated by ADC’s search and supplemented that production with an index, sanctions were not warranted. But the Court did order production, at ADC’s expense, of the dates of each communication. The Court also ordered the parties to meet and confer to determine how to produce the dates in a useful format.
*Click here for more of this case in the Blog’s archives.

Continue Reading Incomplete Discovery Not Sanctionable Because it Complied With Requestors’ Expert Request