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United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
August 20, 2010, Decided
[***1213] [*1296] RADER, Chief Judge.
Following a trial for patent infringement that resulted in a hung jury, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California ruled as a matter of law that U.S. Patent No. 6,655,566 (the "'566 patent") would have been obvious at the time of invention. Geo. M. Martin Co. v. Alliance Mach. Sys. Int'l, LLC, 634 F. Supp. 2d 1024 (2008) (JMOL Opinion). Because the record supports the trial court's judgment, this court affirms.
A "bundle breaker" is a machine used to separate stacked sheets of corrugated [**2] board. The '566 patent claims an improvement over the traditional bundle breaker by providing "compliance structures," which allow a bundle breaker to simultaneously break multiple stacks of corrugated board (logs) of different heights.
The assembly line in corrugated board manufacturing plants typically includes a number of machines that prepare stacks of corrugated board, or bundles.
First, a rotary die cutter scores a single sheet of corrugated board, creating a series of "weakened lines" so that the board can be separated later into individual boxes. Next, a stacker collects multiple sheets and stacks them into a "log." The stacker aligns the sheets' weakened lines so that each log contains a series of "weakened planes." The bundle breaker then separates a log into individual bundles by "breaking" the log along the weakened planes. Finally, a load former puts the bundles onto pallets.
The '566 patent, filed on August 28, 2002, and issued on December 2, 2003, shows a bundle breaker separating a log (4) into separate bundles (2 and 3):
[SEE FIG._14 IN ORIGINAL]
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
618 F.3d 1294 *; 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 17377 **; 96 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1212 ***
GEO M. MARTIN COMPANY AND THE MARTIN FAMILY TRUST--1989, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. ALLIANCE MACHINE SYSTEMS INTERNATIONAL LLC, Defendant-Cross Appellant.
Prior History: [**1] Appeals from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in case no. 07-CV-00692, Judge William H. Alsup.
Geo. M. Martin Co. v. Alliance Mach. Sys. Int'l, LLC, 634 F. Supp. 2d 1024, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 95700 (N.D. Cal., 2008)
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Civil Procedure, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Trials, Judgment as Matter of Law, General Overview, Patent Law, Defenses, Patent Invalidity, Fact & Law Issues, Grounds, Nonobviousness, Elements & Tests, Prior Art, Infringement Actions, Claim Interpretation, Graham Test, Secondary Considerations, Ordinary Skill Standard