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Olaf Soot Design, LLC v. Daktronics, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. New York

May 17, 2017

OLAF SOOT DESIGN, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
DAKTRONICS, INC. and DAKTRONICS HOIST, INC., Defendants.

          Attorneys for Plaintiff TROUTMAN SANDERS LLP By: James M. Bollinger, Esq. Timothy P. Heaton, Esq. Phoenix S. Pak, Esq. Katherine Harihar, Esq.

          Attorneys for Defendants BLANK' ROME LLP By: Kenneth L. Bressler, Esq. BLANK ROME LLP By: Russel T. Wong, Esq. Linh Bui, Esq.

          OPINION

          ROBERT W. SWEET U.S.D.J.

         Defendants Daktronics, Inc. and Daktronics Hoist, Inc. ("Daktronics" or the "Defendants") have moved for reconsideration of this Court's October 26, 2016 decision to deny Defendants' motion for summary judgment on non-infringement regarding Defendants' Vortek winch and Plaintiff Olaf Soot Design, LLC's ("Olaf Soot" or the "Plaintiff") U.S. Patent No. 6, 520, 485 ("the M85 Patent"). For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion for reconsideration is denied.

         Prior Proceedings

         Plaintiff brought this patent infringement action on June 26, 2015. On October 26, 2016, after hearing Plaintiff's motion for claim construction and Defendants' motion for summary judgment, the Court construed twelve claim constructions on the M85 Patent and denied Defendants' summary judgment motion. (Dkt. 72.)

         On November 9, 2016, Defendants moved for reconsideration. (Dkt. 74.) The motion was taken on submission and marked fully submitted on January 12, 2017. (Dkt. 87.)

         Applicable Standard

         Under Local Rule 6.3, a party moving for reconsideration "must demonstrate that the Court overlooked controlling decisions or factual matters that were put before it on the underlying motion." Eisenmann v. Greene, 204 F.3d 393, 395 n.2 (2d Cir. 2000) (quotation marks and citation omitted). "The major grounds justifying reconsideration are an intervening change of controlling law, the availability of new evidence, or the need to correct a clear error or prevent manifest injustice." Virgin Atl. Airways, Ltd. v. Nat'l Mediation Bd., 956 F.2d 1245, 1255 (2d Cir. 1992) (quotation marks and citation omitted).

         The standard for granting such a motion is "strict" and should only be done when the movant "can point to controlling decisions or data that the court overlooked-matters, in other words, that might reasonably be expected to alter the conclusion reached by the court." Shrader v. CSX Transp., Inc., 70 F.3d 255, 257 (2d Cir. 1995). "Such motions are not vehicles for taking a second bite at the apple, " Rafter v. Liddle, 288 F.App'x 768, 769 (2d Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted), and "should not be granted where the moving party seeks solely to relitigate an issue already decided, " Shrader, 70 F.3d at 257.

         Defendants' Motion For Reconsideration Is Denied

         In their motion for reconsideration, Defendants contend that when the Court found that a reasonable jury could find the accused Vortek winch insubstantially different to the M85 Patent under the doctrine of equivalents, it ignored Federal Circuit precedent and violated part of the "all elements rule." (Defs.' Memo in Supp. at 1, Dkt. 75.) As this issue was previously raised by Defendants in their motion papers, considered by the Court, and has not been shown to be clear error, Defendants' motion is denied.

         The "all elements rule" states that "an accused product or process is not infringing unless it contains each limitation of the claim, either literally or by an equivalent." Freedman Seating Co. v. Am. Seating. Co., 420 F.3d 1350, 1358 (Fed. Cir. 2005) (citations omitted). This rule "constraints] when and how the doctrine of equivalents is to be applied" by finding that "an element of an accused product or process is not, as a matter of law, equivalent to a limitation of the claim invention if such a finding would entirely vitiate the limitation." Id. (citing Warner-Jenkinson Co. v. Hilton Davis Chem. Co., 520 U.S. 17, 29 (1997)). To find a claim limitation vitiated is a "legal determination that the evidence is such that no reasonable jury could determine two elements to be equivalent." Deere & Co. v. Bush Hog, LLC, 703 F.3d 1349, 1356 (Fed. Cir. 2012) (citing Warner-Jenkinson, 520 U.S. at 39 n.8). "[T]he vitiation test cannot be satisfied by simply noting that an element is missing from the claimed structure or process because the doctrine of equivalents, by definition, recognizes that an element is missing that must be supplied by the equivalent substitute." Id. "[F]or example, courts properly refuse to apply the doctrine of equivalents 'where the accused device contain[s] the antithesis of the claimed structure.'" Id. (citation omitted).

         Defendants repeatedly argued vitiation during briefing for their summary judgment motion. (See Defs.' Memo in Supp. at 10-11, Dkt. 33; Defs.' Reply Br. at 9-10, Dkt. 51.) While citing different cases here, it is difficult to.construe Defendants' instant motion as anything but an attempt to "repeat[] the same arguments included in previous motion papers." Cipollaro v. NYC Transit Authority, 2015 WL 110147, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 3, 2015) (citing UniCredito ...


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