Sunday, April 15, 2007

Kohl's settles with Merry Chance in patent matter

In November 2006, Merry Chance Industries Ltd. of Hong Kong sued Menomonee Falls-based Kohl's as well as DLR Products Inc. of California, and National Broom Co. of California, which does business as JLR Gear, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan in Grand Rapids for patent infringement based on the sale of the Smart BBQ Silicone Basting Brush Set (initially sold at Kohl's stores at a price of $29.99 but dropped to $5.99 after a warning letter was received).

Separately, of recent CAFC cases:

In re Reed Elsevier Properties, Elsevier lost an appeal from 77 USPQ2d 1649 on registration of the mark Cases cited included In re American Fertility Society, 188 F.3d 1345 (CAFC 1999), In re Merrill Lynch, 828 F.2d 1567, In re Steelbuilding, 415 F.3d 1293

In Acumed v. Stryker, the CAFC construed the meaning of the word “transverse.” The patent at issue was US 5,472,444, and the CAFC affirmed infringement and willfulness, but vacated the permanent injunction for review in terms of eBay, 126 S. Ct. 1837 (2006). Claim 1 was to an elongated, tapered NAIL which had a butt portion comprising at least three tranverse holes.

Figure 2 of the ‘444 patent describes an embodiment in which the transverse holes are perpendicular. Thus, one sees the majority citing Comark, 156 F.3d at 1186, that limitations from the specification should not be read into the claims. The majority states that the specification did not define transverse and perpendicular to be coequal in meaning. Footnote 2 gets into the use of dictionaries.


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