Digest of Teashot.LLC v. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc., No. 2014-1323 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 5, 2015) (nonprecedential). On appeal from D.Colo. Before Prost, Moore, and Chen.

Procedural Posture: Plaintiff Teashot appealed a final entry of summary judgment that Defendants Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and Starbucks Corp. did not infringe U.S. Patent No. 5,895,672. CAFC affirmed.

  • Claim Construction: The CAFC affirmed the district court’s construction of the claim element “sealed body is constructed of a water-permeable material which allows flow of a fluid through said sealed body to produce a tea extract from said tea composition” as “the portions of the sealed body into which fluid flows and out of which fluid flows are water-permeable material allowing flow of a fluid through said sealed body to produce a tea extract from said tea composition.” In doing so, the CAFC rejected Teashot’s argument that the construction deviated from the claim text, improperly imported a limitation from the specification, and excluded an embodiment from the specification. The CAFC determined that the claim text identified “water-permeable material” as the means through which fluid flow through the “sealed body.” The specification confirmed this by referencing “water-permeable material” when discussing fluid flowing through a “sealed body.” Finally, the embodiment Teashot argued was excluded from the construction did not expressly depart from the teaching that water can flow through a “sealed body” via a “water-permeable material.”
  • Non-infringement: The CAFC affirmed the district court’s finding of non-infringement. Teashot did not dispute that its owner admitted during a deposition that the lid of the accused K-Cup product is not water permeable. Instead, Teashot argued that a factual dispute remained as to whether puncturing the K-Cup lid transformed it into a water-permeable material. The CAFC rejected this argument, finding that Teashot provided no support that an ordinarily skilled artisan would consider “water-permeable material” to encompass material not permeable to water but having a hole punctured in it.
  • Doctrine of Equivalents: The CAFC affirmed the district court’s finding that Teashot waived its rights to raise a doctrine of equivalents argument by failing to timely disclose this theory in its infringement contentions. Teashot argued that it complied with the Scheduling Order since the Order was silent as to the requirements for the contents of infringement contentions and contained no supplementation prohibition. The CAFC rejected these arguments, stating that Teashot could not rely on ignorance in failing to comply with its duty of disclosure. Further, silence as to supplementation did not mean that Teashot could amend at will after the deadline.