ABC CORPORATION I v. PARTNERSHIP AND UNINCORPORATED ASSOCIATIONS
- Oct 28 2022 |
- Category: CAFC Updates
Plaintiffs own four design patents on hoverboards. Plaintiffs brought suit against appellants (who sell Gyroor-branded hoverboards) claiming that products sold by appellants infringed plaintiffs’ patents. The district court entered a TRO, followed by a preliminary injunction. On appeal, the issue is whether the preliminary injunction must be set aside because the district court erred in determining the likelihood of success on the merits. The CAFC conclude that the district court erred in four independent respects. First, the district court applied, at least in part, the wrong legal standard. An injunction cannot be granted because a trial is required or because the accused products are not “sufficiently dissimilar” or “plainly dissimilar” from the patented design. Second, the district court was required to conduct the ordinary observer analysis through the lens of the prior art, and the court’s conclusory discussion contains no indication that it conducted the required analysis. Third, the district court failed to apply the ordinary observer test on a product-by-product basis, which is particularly important here in light of significant differences among the accused products themselves. The fourth problem with the preliminary injunction order is that, even if the district court were to find a likelihood of success as to infringement, the language of the injunction is overbroad, and not limited to those products actually found likely to infringe and those “not more than colorably different.” The CAFC notes that injunctions that by their terms apply to “any device” within the scope of the patent claims do not meet the specificity requirement of Rule 65(d). For the foregoing reasons, the CAFC holds that the district court erred in issuing the preliminary injunction, and reverses and remands.