Law School Case Brief
Larami Corp. v. Amron - No. 91-6145, 1993 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3097 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 11, 1993)
The doctrine of equivalents is used to hinder the "unscrupulous copyist" who could otherwise imitate a patented invention as long as s/he was careful not to copy every inconsequential detail of the claimed inventions, or to make some "unimportant and insubstantial" change to the claimed invention. The doctrine is reserved for the exceptional case.
Plaintiff toy manufacturer brought a declaratory judgment action against defendant patent owner, another toy manufacturer, seeking a judgment that plaintiff had not infringed defendant's patent. Both parties were toy gun manufacturers. The court found for plaintiff. Defendant appealed.
Is the plaintiff manufacturer liable for copyright infringement under the doctrine of equivalents?
The court found that plaintiff's device did not infringe defendant's patent, either literally or under the doctrine of equivalents. It was further ruled that plaintiff's device had not literally infringed defendant's patent because an element of defendant's claim was missing from plaintiff's product.
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