United States: Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner LLP Client Secures Appellate Victory in Patent Infringement Case
Last Updated: December 14 2006

Federal Circuit upholds lower court decision rejecting infringement claim

WASHINGTON, DC (December 11, 2006)-Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner LLP announced today that its client Illinois Tool Works (ITW) recently obtained affirmance of a judgment rendered in January 2006 by the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts after a three week, non-jury trial.  The judgment and mandate of the Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's order in its entirety.

The Court of Appeals judgment upholds the District Court decision rejecting the patentee's allegations that ITW's trays for storing and testing ball grid array integrated circuit chips infringed three claims of the plaintiff's patent, as well as allegations that ITW engaged in trade libel by publishing statements related to the validity of the patent.

In the trial decision, United States District Judge Richard G. Stearns ruled that the R.H. Murphy carrier tray patent was "invalid because two prior art trays [which had been designed and sold by ITW] rendered the patent obvious."  Judge Stearns found that the "prior art, tweaked with minor and obvious modifications, anticipated all of the essential elements of the patent as the assignee (R.H. Murphy) defined them."

Judge Stearns further found that R.H. Murphy "failed to rebut the showing of obviousness based upon secondary factors, because the assignee did not present sufficient evidence of commercial success, satisfaction of a long-felt but unresolved need, the failure of others, or copying."

"I am very pleased with these victories for ITW at the trial and appellate levels," said Frederick Whitmer, a New York-based Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner partner, and lead trial and appellate counsel for ITW in the case.  "ITW itself has a deep respect for patent rights and is widely recognized as a leader in innovation and patent protection."

In 2005, ITW had more than 17,000 unexpired patents and pending patent applications worldwide, including 3,200 U.S. patents and 1,200 pending U.S. applications.  The company typically ranks in the top 100 of patent issuers in the U.S.

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