Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Gutterglove, Inc. v. American Die and Rollforming, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. California

May 23, 2018

GUTTERGLOVE, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
AMERICAN DIE and ROLLFORMING, INC., et al., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT Re: Dkt. Nos. 55, 56

          William H. Orrick United States District Judge

         INTRODUCTION

         Gutterglove, Inc. (“Gutterglove”) brought this action against American Die and Rollforming, Inc. (“ADR”) and Artesian Home Products, Inc. dba Valor Gutter Guard (“Artesian”) (collectively, “defendants”), alleging infringement of two United States patents related to rain gutter debris preclusion systems, generally referred to as “gutter guards.” After the case was filed, defendants sought to invalidate the patents via inter partes review (“IPR”) with the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). I denied Gutterglove's request to stay the case pending IPR, but subsequently adopted the parties' joint proposal to stay with the exception of one motion for summary judgment of noninfringement. This order addresses that motion and plaintiff's motion to strike a declaration submitted in support of that motion.

         For the ‘454 patent, Gutterglove has failed to demonstrate a genuine issue that defendants' products infringe any of the claims. It has advanced disputed facts from which a jury could find infringement of the ‘747 patent based on defendants' Diamond Product, but not the Louvered Products (the Valor, Bolt and Arrow). Accordingly, defendants' motion is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED in PART. And since the PTAB has granted defendants' petitions for review, this case is STAYED pending resolution of those petitions.

         BACKGROUND

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         A. The Parties and The Claims

         Gutterglove owns U.S. Patent No. 9, 021, 747 (“the '747 patent”), entitled “Supported Mesh Debris Preclusion System for Gutters, ” and U.S. Patent No. 8, 479, 454 (“the '454 patent”), entitled “Corrugated Mesh Debris Preclusion System for Gutters.” '454 patent (Song Decl. ¶ 2, id. Ex. 1, Dkt. No. 28-2); '747 patent (Song Decl. ¶ 3. id. Ex. 2, Dkt. No. 28-3). Both patents relate generally to the field of rain gutter debris preclusion systems, referred to as “gutter guards.” '454 patent at 1:14-16; '747 patent at 1:13-15. Gutterglove alleges that four of defendants' products (“the Accused Products”) infringe the '747 patent claims 1-6 and 16-20, wherein claims 1 and 16 are independent claims, and the '454 patent claims 1-3, 12-14 and 16-17, wherein claims 1, 12, and 16 are independent claims.[1] Compl. (Dkt. No. 1); see also Infringement Contentions (Costello Decl. ¶ 6; id., Ex. 3, Dkt. No. 55-6). ADR and Artesian make and sell the Accused Products. Bryer Decl. ¶ 15; see also Defs.' Advertisements for the Accused Products (Bryer Decl., Exs. 4- 7).

         The '454 patent “relates to rain gutter debris preclusion systems which include a screen or filter element supported above a rigid structural support element for filtration of debris out of water before passing into the gutter.” '454 patent at 1:15-19. Independent claim 12 of the '454 patent provides,

A gutter guard attachable overlying a gutter, comprising:
a screen; a substantially rigid support underlying said screen and in contact with an underside of said screen;
said rigid support including a plurality of holes therein;
said screen being bent into a configuration including multiple crests alternating with multiple troughs, with said, troughs closer to said rigid support than said crests and with at least some of said troughs in contact with said rigid support;
wherein said rigid support includes a pair of slots therein including an upper slot and a lower slot, said upper slot open in a direction facing an open side of said lower slot, said screen including an upper edge opposite a lower edge with said upper edge of said screen located within said upper slot of said rigid support and said lower edge of said screen located within said lower slot of said support, and with a size of said screen between said upper edge and said lower edge similar to a distance between said upper slot and said lower slot; and,
wherein said rigid support includes a floor spaced below said screen, said floor including ribs extending up from said floor to tips in contact with said screen, said floor including said holes therein with said holes located between said ribs, said ribs extending non-parallel with said troughs.

'454 patent at 10:4-29.

         The '747 patent “relates to filter screen mesh type gutter guards which have a fine mesh of material to preclude leaves and other debris from falling into the gutter, while allowing water to filter through the mesh and into the gutter.” '747 patent at 1:16-19. Independent claim 1 from the '747 patent provides,

A leaf preclusion system for a roof gutter having a gutter lip for keeping leaves and other debris out of the roof gutter while allowing water to pass thereinto, comprising: a sheet of fine mesh material; said sheet of fine mesh material having an upper edge adapted to be located above a lower edge and with said sheet of fine mesh material overlying the roof gutter; said sheet of fine mesh material being corrugated with ridges extending at least part of the way from said upper edge to said lower edge and wherein said lower edge being adjacent the gutter lip when the system is in use, wherein the water is allowed to pass through said sheet of fine mesh material into the roof gutter, wherein at least one of said ridges extends from at least one of said upper edge and said lower edge.

'747 patent at 7:62-8:8.

         Following claim construction briefing and argument, I issued a Claim Construction Order construing four terms from the '454 patent and three terms from the '747 patent as follows:

‘454 PATENT

“a floor” (claims 1, 7, 12, 16)

“a surface of the underlying support that resides slightly below the screen”

“a floor on a portion of said rigid support” (claim 1)

“a lower portion of the rigid support”

“screen” (claims 1, 2, 12, 13, 16, 17)

“mesh formed into corrugations with crests and troughs with openings small enough to preclude grit and other fine debris from passing into the gutter, but that allows water to pass into the gutter.”

“plurality of holes” claims 1, 12, 16)

“two or more openings penetrating the floor which allow water to be conducted through the floor.”

'747 PATENT

“fine mesh material” claims 1-6, 11-13, 16-20, 21)

“a mesh filter member with openings small enough to filter out fine debris while allowing water to pass there through and is imbued with properties of sufficient stiffness and ability to overcome water droplet adhesion characteristics without requiring an underlying support”

“being corrugated with ridges” claims 1, 16)

“shaped into a series of parallel ridges and grooves so as to give strength, extending generally perpendicular to a long axis of a gutter”

“ridges” claims 1, 2, 5, 6, 12, 16, 17, and 21)

“raised bands or crests”

         B. The Accused Products

         The four Accused Products can be divided into two groups: those with an underlying support beneath the mesh filter screen (the ValorTM, BoltTM, and ArrowTM) (collectively, the “Louvered Products”), and those with no underlying support (the “Diamond Product”). See Infringement Contentions, Ex. A at 8-9; Bryer Decl. ¶¶ 13, 19; Stein Decl. ¶¶ 51-52. The Valor, Bolt, and Arrow products differ only in the shape of the filtration screen's embossed pattern or “ridges, ” which extend between an upper edge and a lower edge of the screen. Bryer Decl. ¶ 16. The Valor product has S-shaped ridges, the Arrow has arrow-shaped ridges, and the Bolt has “lightning bolt-shaped” ridges. Infringement Contentions, Ex. A; Bryer Decl. ¶¶ 10, 18.

         (Image Omitted)

         The rigid underlying supports of the Valor, Bolt, and Arrow products contain “louver vanes, ” such as that displayed below in the photograph of the Bolt product sample. See Bryer Decl. ¶ 14 (explaining that his “louvered support was designed to provide rigidity and at the same time avoid the problems with the prior art by eliminating a floor and its inherent tendency to pool water and debris.”).

         The Bolt:

         (Image Omitted)

         The Diamond Product has “diamond-shaped” ridges, and, as mentioned, no underlying support. Bryer Decl. ¶¶ 19-20. The wire in its mesh screen is thicker than that in the Valor, Bolt, and Arrow products. Bryer Decl. ¶¶ 26-27. The shapes in the screens force water flow to break its vertical flow pattern by directing it left or right. Bryer Decl. ¶¶ 10, 17-20.

         (Image Omitted)

         II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On October 7, 2016, Gutterglove filed this action against defendants alleging: (1) infringement of the '454 patent, (2) infringement of the '747 patent, and (3) willful infringement of the '454 and '747 patents. Compl (Dkt. No. 1). Defendants answered with affirmative defenses, including non-infringement, and asserted declaratory relief counterclaims for non-infringement and invalidity of the asserted patents.

         On September 18, 2017, I issued the Claim Construction Order. Claim Construction Order (Dkt. No. 42).

         On October 31, 2017, Gutterglove moved to stay the proceedings “in view of” the three petitions for Inter Partes review filed by defendants.[2] Dkt. No. 50. The defendants seek to invalidate the patents based on obviousness. On November 28, 2017, I denied Gutterglove's motion and adopted a jointly requested proposal staying all discovery, case management deadlines, and substantive motion practice, with the exception of one motion for summary judgment of non-infringement. 11/28/17 Minute Entry (Dkt. No. 54).

         On February 2, 2018, defendants filed a motion for summary judgment of noninfringement for each of the asserted claims of both patents, and on their counterclaim seeking declaratory judgment of noninfringement. Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J. (“MSJ”)(Dkt. No. 55-1). On March 14, 2018, Gutterglove filed a motion to strike the declaration of Slate E. Bryer, submitted by defendants in support of their motion for summary judgment. Mot. to Strike (“Mot.”)(Dkt. No. 56). I heard argument on April 18, 2018.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         I. MOTION TO STRIKE IMPROPER OPINION TESTIMONY

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f), “[t]he court may strike from a pleading an insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12.

         Rule 702 allows a qualified expert to testify “in the form of an opinion or otherwise” where:

(a) the expert's scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.