Cobalt Boats, LLC v. Sea Ray Boats, Inc. et al, 2-15-cv-00021 (VAED June 5, 2017, Order) (Morgan, SJ)
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
IPR Estoppel Applies to Competitors' Product Manuals
The court granted plaintiff's motion in limine to preclude defendants from asserting invalidity grounds based on competitors' product manuals because the manuals were reasonably available through searching and therefore could have been raised as grounds for unpatentability in defendant's earlier petition for inter partes review. "Defendants assert that manuals for prior art products are not estopped because they were not reasonably available through searching. Plaintiff counters that Defendants' executives knew about the competitor that had the products at issue, and Plaintiff argues that Defendants' position is disingenuous. This issue is a credibility issue because the manuals are undoubtedly printed publications, and Defendants' awareness of the manuals is the only question affecting whether these references are estopped. The Court does not believe that Defendants were unaware of a larger competitor's product lines, and thus, the Court finds that the [product] manuals were reasonably available through searching."