By Kellen Wittkop
Appeal of a contempt order for violation of patent injunction agreement dismissed for lack of jurisdiction
In Arlington Industries, Inc. v. Bridgeport Fittings, Inc., 13-1357 (Fed. Cir. July 17, 2014), the United States Court of Apeals for the Federal Circuit dismissed the contempt appeal by Bridgeport Fittings, Inc. (“Bridgeport”) of the Middle District of Pennsylvania’s decision finding the electrical company in contempt of a previously-issued injunction. Arlington at 2. Arlington Industries (“Arlington”) manufactured and sold electrical connectors under U.S. Patent No. 6,335,488, and the company brought suit against Bridgeport’s line of electrical connectors for infringement of Arlington’s U.S. Patent Nos. 5,266,050 and 5,171,164. Id. at 3. In April 2004, Bridgeport signed a settlement agreement conceding infringement and agreeing to be “permanently enjoined from directly or indirectly making, using, selling, offering for sale or importing. . .” its line of connectors. Id. Almost eight years later, Bridgeport redesigned its connectors and began selling them, and Arlington filed a motion for contempt to find Bridgeport in violation of the injunction. Id. at 3–4. The district court found Bridgeport in violation of the injunction but did not order sanctions, and the Federal Circuit dismissed the claim for lack of jurisdiction since sanctions were not entered until the record had been fixed for the appeal. Id. at 12–13. Justia provides a summary of the opinion.
Federal Circuit affirms summary judgment of Apple’s noninfringement on GBT’s CDMA patents
In Golden Bridge Technology, Inc., v. Apple Inc., 13-1496 (Fed. Cir. July 14, 2014), the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the District of Delaware’s grant of summary judgment, finding that Apple Inc. (“Apple”) did not infringe on patents held by Golden Bridge Technology (“GBT”) improving the Code Division Multiple Access (“CDMA”) systems—wireless cellular network technology that allows communication between mobile stations and base stations using signals called “preambles.” Golden Bridge at 2. GBT patented an improvement to the CDMA systems that allows mobile stations to transmit preambles at increasing power levels until they receive an acknowledgment signal from the base station, decreasing the likelihood of signal interference between mobile stations. Id. at 2–3. GBT had previously asserted its right to U.S. Patent No. 6,574,267 in Texas, where the Eastern District of Texas held that a preamble is “a signal used for communicating with the base station that is spread before transmission,” and granted summary judgment of anticipation that was subsequently affirmed by the Federal Circuit. Id. at 3. When GBT brought new claims against Apple, the Federal Circuit found that GBT’s failure to rescind or retract the construction of “preamble” during the previous prosecution constitutes a “clear and unmistakable disclaimer of the broader claim scope.” Id. at 8. Accordingly, the Federal Circuit held that the district court properly granted summary judgment of noninfringement. The Journal of the Patent and Trademark Office Society offers an analysis of the decision.