Thursday, April 14, 2011

Doctrine of Equivalents Claim Barred Due to Insufficient Infringement Contentions Despite Use of Broad "Catch-All" Phrase

The court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment of noninfringement under the doctrine of equivalents because plaintiff failed to comply with Patent Local Rule 3-1(c). In doing so, the court rejected plaintiff's argument that a catch-all phrase in its infringement contentions ("[Plaintiff] asserts that the Accused Instrumentalities all function in the same or substantially similar manner and include the same or substantially similar components") put defendant on notice of a doctrine of equivalents claim. "[Plaintiff] contends that this catch-all statement preserved its claims based on the doctrine of equivalents. Courts in this district, however, have strictly applied Patent Local Rule 3-1(e). . . . [Plaintiff] relies on a blanket statement, asserting substantial similarities as to the instrumentalities, but failing to link those similarities to particular claims or limitations within the [patent-in-suit]. . . . Accordingly, [plaintiff's] reliance on the doctrine of equivalents is barred."

Optimumpath LLC v. Belkin International Inc., et. al., 4-09-cv-01398 (CAND April 12, 2011, Order) (Wilken, J.)

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