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United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
January 4, 1994, Decided
[***1374] [*1572] CLEVENGER, Circuit Judge.
Robert Conroy appeals the February 5, 1993 judgment of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts granting Reebok International, Ltd. (Reebok)'s motion for summary judgment of noninfringement of U.S. Patent No. 3,854,228 (the Conroy patent). Conroy v. Reebok Int'l Ltd., 27 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1794 (D. Mass. 1993). We vacate and remand.
The Conroy patent, entitled "Athletic Armor and Inflatable Bag Assembly," claims air inflatable bladders used in athletic footgear to cushion and protect the feet of the wearer. The accused device is a basketball shoe, which incorporates air inflatable bladders, that Reebok manufactures and sells under the trademark THE PUMP.
[**2] On September 18, 1991, Conroy filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois alleging infringement of the Conroy patent by Reebok. Granting Reebok's motion for change of venue, the district court transferred the case to the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts on February 24, 1992. On July 2, 1992, Reebok filed a motion for summary judgment of noninfringement and requested the imposition of sanctions. Before expiration of the 14-day period in which Mr. Conroy had to file his opposition to Reebok's motion pursuant to D. Mass. R. 7.1(A)(2), the district court granted motions by Mr. Conroy's attorneys to withdraw from the case in a July 13, 1992 telephone conference. At that time, the district court also extended the due date for Mr. Conroy to file his opposition, providing him with additional time in which to attempt to secure new counsel. Unable to do so, however, Mr. Conroy filed his opposition pro se on September 18, 1992. Based solely on Reebok's motion and Mr. Conroy's opposition, the district court entered summary judgment for Reebok of noninfringement of the Conroy patent and denied Reebok's request for sanctions. The only issue [**3] on appeal is the propriety of the district court's summary judgment of noninfringement.
] The determination of infringement requires a two-step analysis: (1) a proper construction of the claim to determine its scope and meaning, and (2) a comparison of the properly construed claim to the accused device or process. Carroll Touch, Inc. v. [***1375] Electro Mechanical Sys., Inc., 3 F.3d 404, 407, 27 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1836, 1839 (Fed. Cir. 1993). Claim construction is not an issue in this [*1573] case. With regard to the second step of the infringement analysis, the patentee must prove that the accused device embodies every limitation in the claim, either literally or by a substantial equivalent. Id., 27 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) at 1839. Moreover, the patentee has the burden of proving infringement by a preponderance of the evidence. Morton Int'l, Inc. v. Cardinal Chem. Co., 5 F.3d 1464, 1468, 28 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1190, 1193 (Fed. Cir. 1993).
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14 F.3d 1570 *; 1994 U.S. App. LEXIS 58 **; 29 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1373 ***; 94 Daily Journal DAR 3820
ROBERT CONROY, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. REEBOK INTERNATIONAL, LTD., Defendant-Appellee.
Subsequent History: [**1] Rehearing Denied and Suggestion In Banc Declined February 15, 1994, Reported at: 1994 U.S. App. LEXIS 16256.
Prior History: Appealed from: U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Judge Keeton
Disposition: VACATED AND REMANDED
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Patent Law, Infringement Actions, Burdens of Proof, Defenses, Inequitable Conduct, General Overview, Infringing Acts, Doctrine of Equivalents, Elements, Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Judgments, Summary Judgment, Summary Judgment Review, Standards of Review, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Appropriateness, Discovery, Methods of Discovery, Burdens of Proof, Genuine Disputes, Supporting Materials, Discovery Materials, Preclusion, Collateral Estoppel, Materiality of Facts