4/4/2011: Sundstrand Personal Brief - Stulc
As a representative for Sundstrand, I lay out my following arguments for why our product does not infringe on Honeywell’s patent.
As a starting point, both sides agree that the product does not literally infringe on any part of the patent. Therefore, if infringement was occurring it would have to occur in accordance with the doctrine of equivalents. The doctrine of equivalents holds that technologies can be considered the same when they perform substantially the same task in substantially the same way to get the same result. The most concise way to show that Sundstrand’s product does not infringe on Honeywell’s patent is through comparing the result achieved for the process. Sundstrand’s use of the inlet guide vanes is to determine when “block the control signals used to operate the surge bleed valve” (Section II, d). This is in contrast to the protected function of using the guide vane position to “establish a set point” (Section II, d). Thus, there should be no infringement.
In addition, the relevant claims from the Honeywell patents in question were at one point dependent on other claims. These other claims were ruled invalid during the prosecution of the Honeywell patents because they were obvious when looked at with the prior art. The relevant claims to this case were amended to be independent claims that fit within the reach defined by the patent office. In this change, these claims have been narrowly defined and therefore they are ineligible to considered equivalent with anything except a literal copy.
These arguments fall in line with the judicial precedence from the Warner-Jenkinson case which discusses limiting claims based on amendment. This judgment is summarized as the “amendment will give rise to a presumptive estoppels if made for a reason related to patentability”. In this case, Honeywell’s amendment was clearly made for reasons related to patentability.