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Qds Injection Molding, L.L.C v. United Maxon

May 4, 2011

QDS INJECTION MOLDING, L.L.C., PLAINTIFF AND COUNTERDEFENDANT,
v.
UNITED MAXON, INC., DBA SCUBAMAX, DEFENDANT AND COUNTERCLAIMANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: David O. Carter United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Before the Court are cross-Motions for Summary Judgment filed by Plaintiff, QDS Injection Molding, LLC, and Defendant, United Maxon, Inc. in the above-captioned case. After considering the moving, opposing and replying papers thereon, as well as oral argument, the Court hereby GRANTS in part and DENIES in part Defendant's Motion and DENIES Plaintiff's Motion.

I. BACKGROUND

QDS Injection Molding, LLC ("Plaintiff") is the owner of all rights and interests in United States Patent No. 6,460,995 (the "'995 Patent") entitled "Multi-Piece Lens Having Bonded Lens Portions." Plaintiff's invention broadly can be described as scuba diving mask that provides a wider view field than a conventional diving mask because of its lens structure. Specifically, Plaintiff's invention eliminates the intermediate frame found between the front and side lenses of pre-existing scuba masks. The United States Patent and Trademark Office issued the '995 Patent to Plaintiff on October 8, 2002.

Plaintiff claims that Defendant United Maxon, Inc. ("Defendant") knowingly infringed and continues to infringe the '995 Patent. Specifically, Defendant purportedly imports, sells, and offers for sale scuba diving masks that are covered by the '995 Patent. Defendant's scuba mask also claims to increase divers' peripheral vision. However, instead of bonding the front and side lenses of the mask directly together, Defendant attaches the front and side lenses to a thin, intermediate hinge.

Both parties move for summary judgment on Plaintiff's claim for patent infringement as well as on Defendant's counterclaim for declaratory relief of non-infringement and invalidity.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

a. Summary Judgment

Summary judgment is proper if "the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). The Court must view the facts and draw inferences in the manner most favorable to the non-moving party. United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655, 82 S. Ct. 993 (1962); Chevron Corp. v. Pennzoil Co., 974 F.2d 1156, 1161 (9th Cir. 1992). The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact for trial, but it need not disprove the other party's case. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-25, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986). When the non-moving party bears the burden of proving the claim or defense, the moving party can meet its burden by pointing out that the non-moving party has failed to present any genuine issue of material fact. Musick v. Burke, 913 F.2d 1390, 1394 (9th Cir. 1990).

b. Patent Infringement

A determination of patent infringement proceeds in two steps. Terlep v. Brinkman Corp, 418 F.3d 1379, 1381 (Fed. Cir. 2005). "First, the claim must be properly construed to determine its scope and meaning. Second, the claim as properly construed must be compared to the accused device or process." Id. (quoting Carroll Touch, Inc. v. Electro Mech. Sys., Inc., 15 F.3d 1573, 1576 (Fed.Cir.1993)). Claim construction is an issue of law, see Markman v. Westview Instruments, Inc., 52 F.3d 967, 970-71 (Fed.Cir.1995) (en banc), aff'd, 517 U.S. 370, 116 S.Ct. 1384, 134 L.Ed.2d 577 (1996), that is reviewed de novo by the Federal Circuit, see Cybor Corp. v. FAS Techs., Inc., 138 F.3d 1448, 1456 (Fed.Cir.1998) (en banc). Infringement, on the other hand, is a question of fact. Terlep, 418 F.3d at 1381 (citing Bai v. L & L Wings, Inc., 160 F.3d 1350, 1353 (Fed.Cir.1998)).Where the facts underlying the issue of infringement are undisputed, the function of applying claims to the accused device is the province of the district court. Martin v. Barber, 755 F.2d 1564, 1567 (Fed. Cir. 1984).

c. Patent Validity

A patent is presumed valid. 35 U.S.C. § 282. "Because a patent issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is presumed to be valid . . . the evidentiary burden to show facts supporting a conclusion of invalidity is clear and convincing evidence." Transclean Corp. v. Bridgewood Serv., Inc., 290 F.3d 1364, 1370 (Fed. Cir. 2002) (citing WMS Gaming, Inc. v. Int'l Game Techs., 184 F.3d 1339, 1355 (Fed. Cir. 1999)). The test for validity encompasses three distinct tests of patenatability: novelty, utility, and nonobviousness. The presumption of validity therefore entails a presumption of novelty, a presumption of utility, and a presumption of nonobviousness. Structural Rubber Prods. Co. v. Park Rubber Co., 749 F.2d 707 (Fed. Cir. 1984); see also Raytheon Co. v. Roper Corp., 724 F.2d 951 (Fed. Cir. 1983). If, however, a challenger can prove facts by clear and convincing evidence establishing that the patent fails even one of these three tests, the challenged patent is invalid.

III. DISCUSSION

a. Claim Construction

Before determining infringement, the Court must construe the proper scope and meaning of the claims at issue in the case. Claim construction may be performed as part of summary judgment proceedings. See, e.g., Conoco, Inc. v. Energy & Env. Int'l, L.C., 460 F.3d 1349, 1359 (Fed. Cir. 2006) ("[A] district court may engage in claim construction during various phases of litigation, not just in a Markman order."). "The construction of claims is simply a way of elaborating the normally terse claim language in order to understand and explain, but not to change, the scope of the claims." Embrex, Inc., v. Serv. Eng'g Corp., 216 F.3d 1343, 1347 (Fed.Cir. 2000) (internal quotations and citation omitted). Interpreting the asserted claims demands a review of the relevant intrinsic evidence, which consists of the claim language, the written patent specification, and the patent prosecution history. Telerp, 418 F.3d at 1382. Extrinsic evidence such as dictionaries also "may be considered if the court deems it helpful in determining the true meaning of the language used in the patent claims," Phillips v. AWH Corp., 415 F.3d 1303, 1318 (Fed.Cir.2005) (en banc) (internal quotations omitted), provided that the court "attach[es] the appropriate weight ... to those sources in light of the statutes and policies that inform patent law," id. at 1324.

Here, Plaintiff asserts infringement of independent claims 1 and 8 and dependent claims 3 and 10 of the '995 Patent. The relevant language ...


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