The Charles Machine Works, Inc. v. Vermeer Manufacturing Co.
By Mengyi Wang – Edited by Kathleen McGuinness
The Charles Machine Works, Inc. v. Vermeer Manufacturing Co., No. 12-1578 (Fed. Cir. July 26, 2013)
On July 26, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit vacated-in-part, affirmed-in-part, and reversed-in-part a lower court’s summary judgment of noninfringement, literally or under the doctrine of equivalents, as to Vermeer Manufacturing Company’s (“Vermeer”) commercial products and non-commercial prototypes.
In a unanimous opinion, the Federal Circuit held that The Charles Machine Works (“CMW”) lacked notice that the non-commercial prototypes were within the scope of summary judgment and therefore vacated the relevant part of the lower court’s decision. For the commercial products, the court affirmed the finding of no literal infringement but reversed the grant of summary judgment regarding non-infringement under the doctrine of equivalents. It reasoned that the lower court had improperly discounted CMW’s expert testimony that established genuine factual disputes about equivalence.
Patently-O summarizes the history of the litigation and briefly explains the court’s ruling. Finnegan and McKenna Long & Aldridge feature analyses of prior Federal Circuit jurisprudence regarding the doctrine of claim vitiation. (more…)