The opinion of the court was delivered by: RICHARD HOLWELL, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Tony Colida brought this pro se action for patent infringement against
Sony Corporation of America ("Sony") and Sony Ericsson Mobile
Communications (USA) Inc. ("Sony Ericsson") (collectively "defendants"),
alleging that defendants' sales of its Z-600 mobile phones infringed on
his U.S. Design Patent Nos. D321,347 ("'347 patent") and D321,349 ("'349
patent"). Following Sony's dismissal from this action,*fn1 the remaining
defendant Sony Ericsson moved for sanctions pursuant to Rule 11 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Defendant now moves for summary
judgment on all of plaintiff's claims. For the reasons set forth below,
the Court grants defendant's motion for summary judgment in its
entirety, thereby dismissing plaintiff's complaint. Defendant's motion
for sanctions is denied.
Defendant Sony Ericsson manufactures, markets and sells the Z-600
mobile phone (the "Z-600 phone"). (Pyon Decl. ¶ 2.) Colida is the
putative owner of the '347 patent and '349 patent. (Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 2.)
On November 5, 1991, the United States Patent Commission granted Colida
two design patents issued as '347 for his product, "Portable Cellular
Handset Telephone," and '349 for his product, "Cellular Portable Handset
Telephone." (Feinsilver Decl., Exs. T and U.) The claim attributed to the
'347 patent provides "[t]he ornamental design for a portable handset
telephone, as shown and described." (Id., Ex. T.) The '347 patent
includes eight illustrations entitled Figures 1-8 showing various angles
of his patented phone design. (Id.) Similarly, the entire claim for the
'349 patent states "[t]he ornamental design of a cellular portable
handset telephone, as shown and described. (Id., Ex. U.) The '349 patent
includes six illustrations labeled as Figures 1-6 showing the phone
design in various open and shut positions, as well as sideshots of the
I. Summary Judgment Standard
Summary judgment is appropriate "if the pleadings, depositions, answers
to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a
matter of law." R.B. Ventures, Ltd. v. Shane, 112 F.3d 54, 57 (2d Cir.
1997) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)). Summary judgment may also be granted
when the opposing party fails to establish an element essential to that
party's case and on which that party would bear the burden of proof at
trial. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 321 (1986); Distasio
v. Perkin Elmer Corp., 157 F.3d 55, 61 (2d Cir. 1998) (summary judgment
is "mandated" when "the evidence is insufficient to support the nonmoving
In reviewing the record, the district court must assess the evidence in
"the light most favorable to the non-moving party," resolve all
ambiguities, and "draw all reasonable inferences" in its favor. Am. Cas.
Co. v. Nordic Leasing, Inc., 42 F.3d 725, 728 (2d Cir. 1994); see
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255, 106 S.Ct. 2505,
91 L.Ed. 2d 202 (1986). Nevertheless, an alleged factual dispute between
the parties will not by itself defeat a motion for summary judgment,
since "the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material
fact." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48 (emphasis in original). "A fact issue
is `genuine' if `the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return
a verdict for the nonmoving party.'" Mitchell v. Shane, 350 F.3d 39, 47
(2d Cir. 2003) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248). "A fact is `material'
if it might affect the outcome of the suit under governing law." Id.
(quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248).
Because Colida is proceeding pro se, the Court is cautious in
fulfilling its obligation "to construe his pleadings liberally,
particularly when they allege civil rights violations." Hemphill v. New
York, 380 F.3d 680, 687 (2d Cir. 2004) (internal citations and quotations
omitted). Moreover, the Court has broad discretion in overlooking a
party's failure to comply with Local Rule 56.1, such as is the case here.
Holtz v. Rockefeller & Co., Inc., 258 F.3d 62, 73-74 (2d Cir. 2001)
(excusing pro se plaintiff's failure to submit 56.1 statement). While
Colida's pleadings and submissions regarding his Local Rule 56.1
obligations are woefully inadequate, the Court exercises its discretion
in overlooking these defects and proceeds to the merits of his claims.
II. Plaintiff's Claims of Patent Infringement
35 U.S.C. § 171 grants design patents to individuals who invent "any
new, original and ornamental design for an article of manufacture."
35 U.S.C. § 171. A design patent encompasses those features that are
ornamental, thus excluding any features that are "functional" in use or
purpose. Power Controls Corp. v. Hybrinetics, Inc., 806 F.2d 234, 238
(Fed. Cir. 1986). The scope of the claim must therefore be limited in
order to separate and identify the non-functional aspects of the design
as shown in the patent. Lee v. Dayton-Hudson Corp., 838 F.2d 1186, 1188
(Fed. Cir. 1988).
Determining whether a design patent has been infringed requires "(1)
construction of the claim, and (2) comparison of the construed claim to
the accused product." Contessa Food Products v. Conagra, Inc.,
282 F.3d 1370, 1376 (Fed. Cir. 2002) (citing Elmer v. ICC Fabricating,
Inc., 67 F.3d 1571, 1577 (Fed Cir. 1995); Omega Engineering, Inc. v.
Raytek Corp., 334 F.3d 1314, 1320 (Fed. Cir. 2003). When construing a
design patent claim, the "scope of the claimed design encompasses its
visual appearance as a whole, and in particular, the visual impression it
creates." Contessa, 282 F.3d at 1376 (internal citations and quotations
omitted). The second step, comparison to the accused product, "includes
two distinct ...