Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
In a patent infringement case, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reviews the district court's claim constructions and its grant of summary judgment of non-infringement de novo. Summary judgment is appropriate if, drawing all factual inferences in favor of the nonmoving party, the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Nassau Precision Casting Co., Inc. (“Nassau”) was the owner of United States Patent No. 5,486,000, entitled "Weighted Golf Iron Club Head." The ‘000 patent described an alleged improvement in the distribution of weight within the head of a golf club. The purpose of the invention was to achieve "sweet spot-enhancement, i.e. significant improvement in the ball-striking efficacy of the club head, while maintaining the same starting overall weight of the club head." Nassau brought the present action, accusing Acushnet Company, Inc., Cobra Golf Company, and Puma North America, Inc. (collectively, "Acushnet") of infringing claims 1 and 2 of the '000 patent by making, offering to sell, and selling its Cobra S9, Cobra S9 Second Generation, King Cobra UFi, and Cobra S2 clubs. The district court granted summary judgment of non-infringement in favor of Acushnet. As to claim 1, the district court construed the phrase "removed construction material from a location not used during ball-striking service" as prohibiting removal of construction material from the club head face, because any area of the club head face may be used to strike a golf ball. As to claim 2, the district court reasoned that the claim required that "all of the construction material or weight removed from the top of the club be embodied in the selected bottom areas, while not changing the net weight of the club. In the accused clubs, however, an amount of construction material equal to only the difference in weight between the polymer insert and the removed construction material was embodied in the bottom areas of the accused clubs-not the entire "determined weight" of the removed material. Nassau appealed.
Did the district court properly grant summary judgment of non-infringement in favor of Acushnet?
Yes, as to Claim 2; no, as to Claim 1.
The Court held that the district court properly granted summary judgment of non-infringement to Acushnet as to Claim 2 because the ordinary meaning of the claim language was that all of the material removed from the club head had to be embodied in the selected bottom areas, and it was conceded that some of the weight of the allegedly removed material remained in the topline of the accused club heads. However, as to the other claim, the district court's summary judgment of non-infringement was vacated because the sole claim element that the district court found missing in the accused clubs was, on the record before the appellate court, undisputedly present.