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United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
March 17, 2009, Decided
[***1187] [*1310] MOORE, Circuit Judge.
Crown Packaging Technology Inc. and Crown Cork & Seal USA, Inc. (collectively, Crown) appeal from a decision of the United States District Court for the District of Delaware granting Rexam Beverage Can's (Rexam) motion for summary judgment of noninfringement of claim 14 of U.S. Patent No. 6,935,826 (the '826 patent). See Crown Packaging Tech., Inc. v. Rexam Beverage Can Co., 531 F. Supp. 2d 629 (D. Del. 2008) (Crown II). Rexam cross-appeals the prior grant of Crown's motion for summary judgment [**2] dismissing Rexam's counterclaim for infringement of U.S. Patent No. 4,774,839 (the '839 patent). See Crown Packaging Tech., Inc. v. Rexam Beverage Can Co., 498 F. Supp. 2d 718 (D. Del. 2007) (Crown I). Because we conclude that there is a material issue of fact regarding the function of the "annular reinforcing bead" of claim 14 of the '826 patent, we reverse and remand the district court's grant of summary judgment of noninfringement. Additionally, because we are bound by our holding in Hanson v. Alpine Valley Ski Area, Inc., 718 F.2d 1075 (Fed. Cir. 1983)--that the marking requirement of 35 U.S.C. § 287(a) does not apply when only method claims are asserted--we reverse the district court's grant of summary judgment dismissing Rexam's counterclaim based on a failure to mark.
Crown and Rexam are both in the business of selling can ends and bodies to fillers 1 associated [***1188] with major beverage companies. Crown asserts that the Crown "Superend" can end revolutionized the low-margin beverage can market because the Superend uses up to ten percent less metal than a conventional can end. 2 Following the introduction of the Superend, Rexam designed its own can end, the Rexam End, to [**3] compete with the Superend.
Crown filed this action on August 18, 2005, alleging that the Rexam End infringes claim 14 of the '826 patent. Rexam answered and filed counterclaims on November 3, 2005. 3 Crown moved for partial summary judgment dismissing Rexam's counterclaim based on a failure to mark under 35 U.S.C. § 287(a). The district court issued an amended order on July 30, 2007 granting Crown's motion for summary judgment and dismissing Rexam's counterclaim. Following additional briefing and oral arguments, the district [**4] [*1311] court issued a claim construction order on May 17, 2007. On January 22, 2008, the district court granted Rexam's motion for summary judgment of noninfringement, holding that no genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether the Rexam End infringes claim 14 of the '826 patent under the doctrine of equivalents. A final judgment and order to this effect issued on March 31, 2008. Crown timely appealed. 4
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
559 F.3d 1308 *; 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 5570 **; 90 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1186 ***
CROWN PACKAGING TECHNOLOGY, INC. and CROWN CORK & SEAL USA, INC., Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. REXAM BEVERAGE CAN CO., Defendant-Cross Appellant.
Subsequent History: Rehearing denied by, Rehearing, en banc, denied by Crown Packaging Tech., Inc. v. Rexam Bev. Can Co., 2009 U.S. App. LEXIS 24565 (Fed. Cir., May 15, 2009)
Related proceeding at Crown Packaging Tech., Inc. v. Ball Metal Bev. Container Corp., 662 F. Supp. 2d 939, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 83923 (S.D. Ohio, Sept. 8, 2009)
Prior History: [**1] Appeals from the United States District Court for the District of Delaware in case no. 05-CV-608, Magistrate Judge Mary Pat Thynge.
Crown Packaging Tech., Inc. v. Rexam Bev. Can Co., 531 F. Supp. 2d 629, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4373 (D. Del., 2008)Crown Packaging Tech., Inc. v. Rexam Bev. Can Co., 498 F. Supp. 2d 718, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53365 (D. Del., 2007)
Disposition: REVERSED AND REMANDED.
bead, infringement, patent, annular, reinforcing, district court, counterclaim, final judgment, noninfringement, notice, summary judgment motion, functions, seaming, doctrine of equivalents, issue of material fact, marking, neckers, necking, top, summary judgment, apparatus, patentee, grant of summary judgment, anti-peaking, conventional, extending, parties
Civil Procedure, Appeals, Appellate Jurisdiction, Final Judgment Rule, Patent Law, Jurisdiction & Review, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Summary Judgment Review, Standards of Review, Summary Judgment, Entitlement as Matter of Law, Appropriateness, Infringement Actions, Doctrine of Equivalents, Elements, Equivalence, Reviewability of Lower Court Decisions, Preservation for Review, Defenses, Marking