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.

Cinclips, LLC v. Z Keepers, LLC

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division

August 24, 2017

CINCLIPS, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
Z KEEPERS, LLC, Defendant.

          ORDER

          STEVEN D. MERRYDAY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Many homeowners prefer an “undermounted” sink because no rim protrudes onto the counter. The parties in this action manufacture competing “mounting drivers, ” which support from beneath an undermounted sink's weight. In 2015 the plaintiff, Cinclips, secured U.S. Patent 9, 133, 609, which discloses a “one-piece mounting driver.” According to Cinclips, defendant Z Keeper's one-piece mounting driver (pictured in Appendix A) infringes the ‘609 patent (the preferred embodiment of which is illustrated in Appendix B). Z Keepers argues that the different design of the two products precludes a finding of infringement and that prior art (including a wood furring strip pictured in Appendix C) renders the ‘609 patent obvious. The parties submit claim-construction briefs (Docs. 33, 35, and 36), and Cinclips moves (Doc. 54) for summary judgment.

         1. Claim construction

         Construing the claim begins with the claim's words. Pitney Bowes, Inc. v. Hewlett-Packard Co., 182 F.3d 1298, 1305 (Fed. Cir. 1999). If “clear on its face, ” the claim requires no construction unless evidence intrinsic to the patent (for example, the specification or the prosecution history) shows the patent-holder's intent to attribute an unusual meaning to a word. Interactive Gift Exp., Inc. v. Compuserve Inc., 256 F.3d 1323, 1331 (Fed. Cir. 2001). If the claim appears unclear, extrinsic or intrinsic evidence can resolve the ambiguity. Interactive Gift Exp., 256 F.3d at 1331-32. In this action, the parties dispute eight terms (Doc. 32-2), each of which Cinclips argues is clear and requires no construction.

         A. “screw holes formed along the length of the second end of the support bar” (Claims 8 and 16)

         Arguing that the phrase “along the length” is unclear, Z Keepers proposes the construction “screw holes formed in a line matching the direction of the length of the second end of the support bar.” (Doc. 35 at 7) Cinclips responds correctly that the phrase is clear and requires no construction.

         B. “distal end” (Claim 8)

         Z Keepers correctly observes that Cinclips uses the word “end” inconsistently throughout the patent. In most instances, “end” refers to a general area either supporting the sink or affixed to the cabinet. For example, numerals 44 and 82 in figure 6, both of which describe the “first end” (E.g., ‘609 patent at 4:40-48), appear to identify generally a side that touches the sink. But claim 8 confusingly discloses that “the second end of the support bar includes a support beam extending . . . to a distal end.” (‘609 patent at 9:47-49) In short, claim 8 discloses the “end of . . . a[n] end.” The ‘609 patent uniformly identifies as the “distal end” of the “second end” (‘609 patent at 7:26 and 8:2, which both cite numeral 149) a terminal point on the support bar furthest from the first end of the mounting driver. Z Keepers' proposed construction, a “terminal point on the support bar farthest from the first end of the support bar, ” resolves the disparate usage of “end” and retains the intended meaning as evidenced by the specification.

         C. “a second end of the support bar” (Claims 8 and 16)

         Z Keepers proposes the construction “a second terminal portion of the support bar.” (Doc. 35 at 10) Confusingly, the phrase “a second end of the support bar” appears nowhere in claims 8 and 16. An order need not construe a phrase that appears nowhere in a claim. Construed as a request to interpret “second end of the support bar” (‘609 patent at 8:63 and 9:6 (claim 1), 9:47 and 54 (claim 8), and 10:42-44 (claim 16)), Z Keepers' proposal warrants denial. Although Z Keepers correctly observes the disparate usage of “end” throughout the patent, the above construction of “distal end” resolves the inconsistency and obviates the need to construe “second end of the support bar, ” a consequently clear term.

         D. “the length of the second end of the support bar” (claims 8 and 16)

         Z Keepers proposes “the linear dimension of the second end of the support bar extending from the central support body in a direction away from the first end.” (Doc. 35 at 11) The word “length” is clear and requires no construction. Also, Z Keepers identifies no ambiguity in the phrase “second end of the support bar” and articulates no reason to add to the claims the phrase “extending from the central support body in a direction away from the first end.”

         E. “a back surface cap member” (claim 8)

         In a conclusory paragraph, Z Keepers argues without explanation that the phrase “would be indefinite without reference to the structure so named and described in the specification.” (Doc. 35 at 13) As Cinclips correctly ...


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.