SOUTHCO, INC. v. FIVETECH TECHNOLOGY INC.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Intellectual Property Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Patents, Infringment
  • Date Filed: 09-20-2013
  • Case #: 10-1060
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: United States District Court for the District of Pennsylvania
  • LexisNexis Citation: 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134629
  • Full Text Opinion

In determining whether manufacturing processes are similar enough to support an infringement claim, expert analysis can be used.

Opinion (McLaughlin, J): Southco, Inc. ("Southco") brought this claim against Fivetech Technology, Inc., ("Fivetech") for infringing its patent for “Captive Screws,” containing a screw fastened to a knob, and ferrule to join two surfaces. Fivetech moved for summary judgment for failure to state a claim. First, the court construed claims, giving the terms their ordinary meaning and scope as understood by the PHOSITA, as a matter of law. Second, questions of fact, such as literal or equivalent infringement, are submitted to the jury, unless the court determines there is no genuine issue of material fact. Southco’s claim rested in the interpretation of whether Fivetech’s “Captive Screws” used a chamfered edge to secure the screw to the knob. Fivetech showed its cold forming process naturally produced rounded edges. Additionally, any manufacturing process used to produce a chamfered edge requires an extra, “beveling” step, to create the chamfer. Fivetech showed it does not undertake step in its manufacturing process, and its expert showed that Fivetech’s screws did not have a chamfered edge. Southco presented contrasting expert analysis showing a chamfered edge. However, this was analysis of a product not accused in this matter, and thus, failed to satisfy the court. Finally, Southco argued that the manufacturing process resulted in knob material filling the chamfer on Fivetech’s captive screws. The Court made a prior determination that Fivetech’s knob was attached using a press-fit process, wholly different from Southco’s chamfer displacement process. Southco relied on expert analysis of products not accused of infringement in this controversy. The court found no issue of material fact, and GRANTED summary judgment.

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