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Judge Andrews grants motion for summary judgment of non-infringement

Judge Richard G. Andrews recently granted a defendant’s motion for summary judgment of non-infringement under the doctrine of equivalents.  Blackbird Tech, LLC d/b/a Blackbird Technologies v. Lululemon Athletica, Inc., C.A. No. 15-930-RGA (D. Del. June 14, 2017).  At issue was patented sports bra technology, and whether the defendant’s product infringed where the straps of its product were sewn, rather than laminated, to the cups of the bra.  The plaintiff did not allege literal infringement, but alleged infringement under the doctrine of equivalents on the basis that one of skill in the art would have viewed sewing as interchangeable with laminating for purposes of attaching the bra straps to the cups.  Judge Andrews explained, though, that the doctrine of equivalents is “limited by the dedication-disclosure rule, which prevents a patent holder from disclosing a broader invention than is claimed and then recaptur[ing] subject matter deliberately left unclaimed.”  Id. at 3-4 (internal quotation marks omitted).  The Court found that because the specification discussed both sewing and laminating, but only laminating was claimed, the sewing of the bra straps to the cups was disclosed and dedicated to the public, and the defendant’s product therefore could not be found to infringe under the doctrine of equivalents.  Id. at 4-5.

Blackbird 15-930

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