Mud Buddy, LLC v. Gator Tail, LLC

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Patents, Anticipation
  • Date Filed: 05-01-2013
  • Case #: 2:08-CV-0972-DN-PMW
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: United States District Court for the District of Utah, Central Division
  • Full Text Opinion

A patent claim is invalid by anticipation when each and every limitation of the claim is contained in prior art. The party alleging invalidity has the burden of producing clear and convincing evidence of anticipation, however, to defeat a motion for summary judgement the patent-holder must also produce some evidence showing there is a material issue of fact.

Opinion (Nuffer): Mud Buddy sued Gator Tail, alleging literal infringement of two of its patents, which relate to seals on marine engines. Gator Tail moved for summary judgment, alleging that two claims from one of the patents were invalid as anticipated. A claim is anticipated when each limitation is found either expressly or inherently in a single prior art reference. The party alleging invalidity has the burden of producing the anticipating prior art. The patent-holder then has the burden of producing evidence showing its asserted claim is entitled to the benefit of a filing date preceding the prior art. Although the party alleging invalidity has the burden of showing anticipation by clear and convincing evidence, to defeat a motion for summary judgment of invalidity the patent-holder must produce some evidence showing there is a material issue of fact. Gator Tail produced evidence showing that each element of the challenged claims was found in numerous patents issued before Mud Buddy's patent application was filed. Mud Buddy did not produce evidence to refute Gator Tail's evidence, rather it argued that Gator Tail had not met the clear and convincing standard necessary to prevail. Because Gator Tail had moved for summary judgment, however, Mud Buddy was required to produce evidence showing there was a material issue of fact. Because it did not produce such evidence, the district court held that the first two claims of Mud Buddy's patent were anticipated and therefore invalid. Accordingly, the Court GRANTED the motion for summary judgment.

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