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Georgetown Rail Equipment Co. v. Holland L.P.

Shipment of Data to Third Party Sufficient to “Put Into Service” Claim Limitations Not Directly Practiced by Defendant

Georgetown Rail Equipment Co. v. Holland L.P., (Fed. Cir. Aug. 16, 2017) (Reyna, Schall, WALLACH) (E.D. Tex.: Schroeder) (3 of 5 stars)

Fed Cir affirms judgment of infringement and award of enhanced damages for willfulness. Based on the patent claims and specification, the district court correctly rejected Holland’s arguments that the claim preamble should have been taken as limiting because the phrase “mounted on a vehicle for movement along the railroad track” was a statement of intended use, and did not exclude devices lacking a vehicle mount. The opinion also rejects Holland’s argument that Georgetown relied on the preamble during prosecution to overcome prior art; the statements in question were ambiguous.

The district court did not err in denying JMOL of noninfringement. The record was sufficient to support a determination that Holland was “using” the accused data processing equipment insofar as it was gathering data and sending it to a third party for analysis. As in Centillion, this was sufficient to “put into service” those limitations of the claim that Holland was not itself performing. The record was also sufficient to support a determination that Holland had actually gathered the data at issue.

The district court did not err in denying JMOL of no lost profits. The record contained sufficient evidence to support Georgetown prevailing on Panduit factors one and four (demand for the patented product, and the amount of profit that would have been made).

The district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding enhanced damages for willfulness. The opinion discusses the record and concludes that there was sufficient evidence to show that Holland was reckless as to infringement.

KEYWORDS: PREAMBLE; CLAIM CONSTRUCTION; INFRINGEMENT (YES); LOST PROFITS; WILLFULNESS