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Fisher-Price, Inc. v. Kids II, Inc.

United States District Court, Western District of New York

May 19, 2015

FISHER-PRICE, INC., MATTEL, INC., Plaintiffs,
v.
KIDS II, INC., Defendant.

DECISION AND ORDER

Elizabeth A. Wolford United States District Judge

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiffs Fisher-Price, Inc. and Mattel, Inc. ("Plaintiffs") have sued Defendant Kids II, Inc. ("Defendant") for patent infringement. (Dkt. 1). Specifically, Plaintiffs allege that Defendant has infringed various claims of United States Patent No. 5, 562, 548 (the "'548 Patent"), which issued on October 8, 1996, and is entitled "Convertible Child Swing." (Id. at ¶¶8-13).

This case was initially assigned to the Honorable Richard J. Arcara, United States District Judge. On January 25, 2011, Judge Arcara entered an order referring this matter to the Honorable Leslie G. Foschio, United States Magistrate Judge, for hearing and disposition of all non-dispositive motions or applications, supervision of discovery, and to hear and report upon dispositive motions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(1)(B) and (C). (Dkt. 10).

On November 7, 2012, Judge Foschio entered an order setting forth a claim construction briefing schedule. (Dkt. 112). Pursuant to said schedule, the parties filed briefs on claim construction issues on December 20, 2012. (Dkt. 113, 114). The parties filed responsive claim construction briefs on January 2, 2013. (Dkt. 116, 117). Judge Foschio held a claim construction hearing on January 8, 2013. (Dkt. 118). Judge Foschio permitted the parties to file supplemental claim construction briefs; both parties did so on January 18, 2013. (Dkt. 119, 120).

On June 24, 2014, Judge Foschio entered a Report and Recommendation regarding claim construction. (Dkt. 123). On July 22, 2014, Defendant filed objections to the Report and Recommendafion. (Dkt. 127). Plaintiffs filed a response to Defendant's objections on August 12, 2014 (Dkt. 130), and Defendant filed a reply on August 26, 2014. (Dkt. 131). This case was transferred to the undersigned January 30, 2015. (Dkt. 132).

For the reasons set forth below, the Court adopts the Report and Recommendation in whole and construes the disputed claim terms of the '548 Patent as set forth therein.

BACKGROUND

The factual and procedural background of this case is set forth in detail in the Report and Recommendation. (See Dkt. 123 at 2-7). Familiarity with the Report and Recommendation is assumed for purposes of this Decision and Order.

DISCUSSION

I. Legal Standard

Claim construction issues are often dispositive of the parties' claims and defenses in a particular case. See Von Holdt v. A-1 Tool Corp., 636 F.Supp.2d 726, 730 (N.D. 111. 2009). As a result, "this Court must make a de novo determination of those portions of the Report and Recommendation to which objections have been made." Crowe v. Leroy Cent. Sch. Dist., 949 F.Supp.2d 435, 438 (W.D.N.Y. 2013); see also Armstrong Pump, Inc. V. Hartman, No. 10-CV-446S, 2013 WL 5562432, at *1 (W.D.N.Y. Oct. 8, 2013) (reviewing de novo report and recommendation on claim construction).

"The[re] are two elements of a simple patent case, construing the patent and determining whether infringement occurred. . . . The first is a question of law, to be determined by the court, construing the letters-patent, and the description of the invention and specification of claim annexed to them. The second is a question of fact, to be submitted to a jury." Markman v. Westview Instruments, Inc., 517 U.S. 370, 384 (1996) (quotation omitted). "In construing [patent] claims, the analytical focus must begin and remain centered on the language of the claims themselves, for it is that language that the patentee chose to use to particularly point [ ] out and distinctly claim[ ] the subject matter which the patentee regards as his invention. The words used in the claims are examined through the viewing glass of a person skilled in the art. In the absence of an express intent to impart a novel meaning to the claim terms, the words are presumed to take on the ordinary and customary meanings attributed to them by those of ordinary skill in the art." Brookhill-Wilk 1, LLC. v.Intuitive Surgical, Inc., 334 F.3d 1294, 1298 (Fed. Cir. 2003) (quotation and citations omitted). "To ascertain the scope and meaning of the asserted claims, [a court] look[s] to the words of the claims themselves, the ...


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