Friday, March 30, 2012

The sippy cup patent wars go to CT scans!

At the end of the CAFC decision in Learning Curve Brands v. MUNCHKIN, INC.:

The district court examined the evidence proffered by Learning Curve’s expert, including the CT scans of the accused cups, and it concluded that the difference in the radii of the lids and the rims of the accused cups was so great that no reasonable jury could find the radii to be “similar.” The court observed that based on Learning Curve’s own evidence, at least one-fifth of the extent of the arc formed by the groove in the lid of the accused cups is not in contact with the corresponding arc formed by the rim of the main body of the cup. As Learning Curve’s own evidence demonstrates, that difference in congruence reflects a substantial difference in the radius of curvature of each of the two arcs. An exhibit offered by Learning Curve shows the difference in the two semi-circular arcs clearly. The CT scan of the accused cups with the lid screwed into place over the cup shows the arc of the cup rim with a relatively short radius and the corresponding arc of the groove of the lid above the cup rim with a substantially greater radius:

Thus, as the district court observed, the evidence demon- strates “a substantial difference in size between the respective radii, far more substantial than any ‘difference in degree’ that must be decided by the jury.”

Because the district court properly concluded, based on the difference in the radii of the two semi-circular arcs, that no reasonable jury could have found that the accused cups infringe the ’784 patent, the grant of summary judgment was appropriate. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 255-56 (1986); Absolute Software, Inc. v. Stealth Signal, Inc., 659 F.3d 1121, 1129- 30 (Fed. Cir. 2011); On Demand Mach. Corp. v. Ingram Indus., Inc., 442 F.3d 1331, 1345 (Fed. Cir. 2006).


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