Sunbeam Products, Inc. v. Homedics, Inc. - Supplementary Case

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Read for 3/30/11

Facts of the Case

  • Sunbeam sued for infringement of a force-transmitting bearing for a platform scale
  • District Court entered summary judgment of non-infringement
    • CAFC upheld
  • Patent clearly excluded the structure found in the accused device from the scope of its claims
    • A dimple one the lower side of the platform was used in prior art to connect the bearings and Sunbeam criticized this saying it increased the possibility of an undesired bending or force moment being applies to the force collection lever
  • Homedics bearings are like the prior art, connected with a dimple
  • The claims required the base of the bearing to be oriented parallel to the platform and remain parallel to the platform at all times
    • Interpreted by the court
    • No juror could find that bearings that rock and pivot remain parallel to the underside of the platform
  • Definitely not literal infringement
  • Doctrine of equivalents analysis
    • Cannot treat a bearing that rocks and pivots as falling within the reach of the patent