Monday, February 25, 2019

CAFC finds, in part, in favor of pro se patentee

The decision of noninfringement of WD Mich was vacated:

We vacate the grant of summary judgment
of noninfringement and remand for further proceedings.

While we are sympathetic to the fact that the district
court is handling a complex patent case involving a pro se
patent owner, the district court erred in granting summary
judgment of noninfringement. In granting summary judgment,
the district court determined that the AeroFlap does
not contain three limitations of the RE’755 patent claims.
First, the district court held the AeroFlap does not have the
claimed “vanes” because its channels are formed from depressions
in the surface of its mud flap, rather than from
vanes that protrude from the surface. Second, it held these
depressions in the AeroFlap do not prevent water and debris from
passing through slotted openings. Third, to the
extent the AeroFlap has the claimed “vanes,” “channels,”
or “slotted openings,” it held they are not “vertically extending.”
The district court’s analysis of these limitations
was erroneous

The scope of the meaning of "vanes" was factually in dispute:

We agree with Mr. Surti, however, that a genuine issue
of fact exists as to whether the AeroFlap has the claimed
vanes. The district court based its conclusion that the
AeroFlap does not have “vanes” on the fact that its
channels are created from depressions in the front surface
of the mud flap, rather than structures that protrude from
a surface. Though AeroFlap’s vanes are flush with the
front surface of the mud flap, a reasonable jury could
conclude that they protrude from the rear wall of the
channels. The construction of vanes does not require that
the vanes protrude beyond all other surfaces on the mud

FLEET ENGINEERS, INC. v. Mudguard, Surti


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