Xinyi Continues to Push for New Trial or Modified/Vacated Damages in $24 Million Patent Infringement Suit; Contends "Centering" Needs Clear Definition
June 23, 2010

Xinyi Glass North America and Xinyi Automobile Glass Co. Ltd. continue to push for a new trial in the recent patent infringement suit against them resulting in a $24 million judgement, payable to plaintiff Saint-Gobain. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio had ruled against it in April, but Xinyi had motioned for a new trial, and, after a recent objection from Saint-Gobain, Xinyi has filed a renewed motion for the damages to be vacated or modified or for a new trial to be held. (CLICK HERE for related story.)

The suit focuses on two Saint-Gobain patents, titled "Spacer for Windshield Bracket," which the company claims is the "first spacer being provided with means for centering and aligning the glazing upon the bracket," and "Method of Centering Windshield Glazings," which addresses the way that the lip portion of the spacer contacts the bracket "to provide a force for centering said glazing … which force is sufficient to maintain centering on the glazing on the bracket." Saint-Gobain alleges that Xinyi has infringed upon both of these by manufacturing windshields with similar constructions.

One major point of contention in the trial has been the definition of "centering."

"Even now, Saint-Gobain's construction of 'centering' is a mystery," writes Xinyi in its latest renewed motion. "In response to Xinyi's assertion that 'non-skewed' requires a force that moves the windshield from a skewed to a non-skewed position, Saint-Gobain howls 'nonsense' and 'ridiculous.' Yet 'centering' is a verb, requiring an action. When, then, is it 'nonsense' to assume that 'a force for centering' requires forcing the windshield from a skewed to a non-skewed position? And, if it doesn't mean that, then what does it mean?"

"The problem in this case is that no one seems to know the answer to that question-even now, after a jury verdict and an award of enhanced damages … " continues the motion. "Given these facts a new trial is required, following a Markman hearing that formally construes 'centering.'"

Xinyi goes on to allege that though Saint-Gobain had told the court that it should adopt the "ordinary meaning of 'centering,'" during the course of the trial it defined centering as "non-skewed," according to court documents.

"If 'non-skewed' was Saint-Gobain's desired construction for 'centering,' it should have clearly presented that construction during the Markman proceedings, rather than hiding behind the false veil of 'ordinary meaning' and 'no construction necessary,' which it quickly abandoned the moment trial began," writes Xinyi.

Because this definition wasn't presented early on, Xinyi claims that it was "severely prejeduced … at all stages of this litigation."

" … Had Saint-Gobain presented 'non-skewed' as its actual construction of 'centering,' it would have been required to rebut the presumption that the ordinary meaning of 'centering' applied," reads the motion. "It would have also been forced to identify where the intrinsic record provides support for 'non-skewed,' a special definition that is contrary to the ordinary meaning, and Xinyi would have had an opportunity to attack that proof. Instead, Saint-Gobain was allowed to proceed to trial unchallenged on these crtical points."

In addition, Xinyi argues that Saint-Gobain did not prove infringement using the "non-skewed" definition of "centering," and that it was never "determined whether the lips of Xinyi's products were capable of forcing a windshield from a skewed to a non-skewed position."

The company also continues to argue that Saint-Gobain failed "to prove that each of the 277,645 accused Xinyi products included in its damages calculations directly infringed one of the asserted claims," and that this would have impacted the monetary damages awarded in the ruling.

Lastly, Xinyi argues that Saint-Gobain's "copying argument" was irrelevant, unsubstantiated and highly prejudicial, leaving cause for a new trial. The company also states in its latest motion that the jury's finding that Xinyi was liable for infringement "is simply the tail wagging the dog."

"As set forth in Xinyi's opening brief, Saint-Gobain did not properly establish infringement," writes Xinyi. "Thus, the jury likely reached its finding of infringement because it was confused by Saint-Gobain's improper argument that Xinyi had 'copied' Saint-Gobain's commercial products."

Xinyi request that the court grant a new judgment of non-infringement and should vacate or modify the jury's damages, or grant a new trial.

The renewed motion was penned by Xinyi counsel James F. McCarthy III of Katz, Teller, Brant & Hild in Cincinnati.

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