Case: Charles Mach. Works, Inc. v. Vermeer Mfg. Co., No. 2012-1578 (Fed. Cir. July 26, 2013) (precedential). On appeal S.D. Iowa. Before Dyk, Mayer, and Moore.

Procedural Posture: Plaintiff patentee Charles Machine Works, Inc. appealed summary judgment of no infringement, literal or under the doctrine of equivalents. As to the accused prototypes, the CAFC vacated the grant of summary judgment. As to the accused commercial products, the CAFC affirmed no literal infringement and reversed and remanded as to infringement under the doctrine of equivalents.

  • Notice: Defendant represented in its motion, proposed order, and at the hearing that the motion was expressly limited to accused commercial products. Therefore, summary judgment of non-infringement as to the accused prototypes was vacated for insufficient notice.
  • Claim Construction: CAFC found no error in the district court’s construction of the terms “deflection shoe” and “mounted on,” and therefore affirmed the grant of summary judgment that the accused products do not literally infringe the asserted claims.
  • Doctrine of Equivalents: The patentee’s expert declaration raised genuine issues of fact regarding the function-way-result inquiry, and the patentee’s doctrine of equivalents argument was not barred by the doctrine of claim vitiation. Therefore, a reasonable jury could have found equivalence, and the district court erred in making a contrary legal determination.