Judge Issues New Decisions in Alleged Patent Infringement Case

The judge has denied GlasWeld’s motion for default judgment, ordered Mike Boyle (doing business as Surface Dynamix) and his son Christopher Boyle to provide discovery information and decided on the construction of claims involved in the alleged patent infringement case. She also ordered GlasWeld and the Boyles to discuss a possible settlement and report their progress back to the court.

“Plaintiff moves for default judgment against defendants based on their alleged failure to respond to discovery requests and to comply with court orders compelling discovery, including the court’s most recent order of July 2, 2014. … Plaintiff also contends that one or both defendants failed to produce documents referenced in their interrogatory responses,” the judge writes.

“In response, Mike Boyle criticizes the conduct of plaintiff’s counsel and contends the plaintiff has employed a ‘scorched earth’ tactic of discovery against defendants. Christopher Boyle maintains that he has provided all necessary information and is not inclined to provide information plaintiff does not need,” the judge adds.

“[W]ith the exception of non-infringement, I find that defendants have not provided sufficient responses to plaintiff’s interrogatories requesting the basis of defendants’ asserted defenses. Further, defendants do not dispute that they have not produced documents and information relevant to the manufacture and sales of the accused products. Therefore, defendants provide inadequate justification to excuse their failures to comply with orders compelling their responses to discovery,” the judge writes.

The judge will soon move forward with a decision on GlasWeld’s motion for summary judgment and tied this into her order.

“Rather than entering default, defendants may not raise or rely on legal assertions or theories (aside from non-infringement) that they failed to disclose in response to plaintiff’s discovery requests [to supplement their defense],” the judge writes. “Further, within 30 days, defendants are ordered to provide plaintiff with information regarding quantities, sales, customers, revenue and pricing of the accused products, including the documents supporting such information. … Failure to provide this information will result in the imposition of monetary sanctions, in the form of attorney fees plaintiff has expended in moving to compel this information. Lastly, I will require defendants to supplement their discovery responses regarding non-infringement, taking into consideration the court’s claim construction set forth below.”

The patents referenced in the complaint are U.S. patent No. 5,670,180 (’180 patent), “Laminated Glass and Windshield Repair Device,” and U.S. patent No. 6,898,372 (’372), “Lamp System for Curing Resin in Glass,” issued to GlasWeld in September 1997 and May 2005, respectively.

While Mike Boyle was named as an inventor on the ’372 patent, GlasWeld officials allege that he assigned all of his rights of ownership to the company and “has no right to practice the technology claimed in the ’372 patent.” Mike Boyle alleges he is not infringing on the patents.

The parties had the opportunity to offer their opinions on claims construction on the patent terms involved.

By and large the judge appeared to rely on “plain language” to define the claims in question.

One of the terms under consideration was “helical groove.”

“[I] construe the phrase consistent with the ordinary meaning of helical as a ‘spiral groove,’” the judge writes.

For the judge’s decision on claim construction, click here.

Circling back around to GlasWeld’s motion for summary judgment, the judge writes that she stayed the motion pending the construction of claims.

“Given that plaintiff’s arguments necessarily relied on its claim construction, plaintiff is afforded the opportunity to supplement its motion in accordance with the court’s claim construction,” the judge writes. “The court also indicated that it would allow limited discovery as necessary to support or oppose the motion for partial summary judgment in light of the court’s construction of claims. In other words, the court will allow discovery regarding an issue of fact or law affected by the construction of claims. No other discovery shall be allowed. Any additional discovery shall be completed within 30 days; if disputes arise, the parties shall confer and file a joint discovery report briefly describing the nature of the dispute and the court will consider the dispute on an expedited basis.”

“[T]he parties are also ordered to confer regarding the possibility of settlement and provide a Joint Alternate Dispute Resolution Report within 14 days from the date of this opinion and order,” she writes. “If the parties are amenable to further attempts at judicial settlement, the court shall facilitate such efforts.”

To read the judge’s full decision, click here.

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