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Intex Recreation Corp. v. Team Worldwide Corp.

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

January 9, 2015

INTEX RECREATION CORPORATION, Plaintiff,
v.
TEAM WORLDWIDE CORPORATION, Defendant

Page 213

For INTEX RECREATION CORPORATION, Plaintiff: Gerald Francis Ivey, LEAD ATTORNEY, Edward J. Naidich, John M. Williamson, Kara F. Stoll, FINNEGAN, HENDERSON, FARABOW, GARRETT & DUNNER, LLP, Washington, DC; Troy E. Grabow, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, FINNEGAN, HENDERSON, FARABOW, GARRETT & DUNNER, LLP, Washington, DC; Andrew M. McCoy, R. Trevor Carter, PRO HAC VICE, FAEGRE BAKER DANIELS LLP, Indianapolis, IN.

For TEAM WORLDWIDE CORPORATION, Defendant: Andrew R. Kopsidas, LEAD ATTORNEY, FISH & RICHARDSON, P.C., Washington, DC; Christopher B. Hadley, Laura R. Braden, PRO HAC VICE, FISH & RICHARDSON P.C., Boston, MA; Kurt L. Glitzenstein, FISH & RICHARDSON, P.C., Boston, MA.

For TEAM WORLDWIDE CORPORATION, Counter Claimant: Andrew R. Kopsidas, LEAD ATTORNEY, FISH & RICHARDSON, P.C., Washington, DC; Kurt L. Glitzenstein, FISH & RICHARDSON, P.C., Boston, MA; Laura R. Braden, PRO HAC VICE, FISH & RICHARDSON P.C., Boston, MA.

For INTEX RECREATION CORPORATION, Counter Defendant: Gerald Francis Ivey, LEAD ATTORNEY, Edward J. Naidich, John M. Williamson, Kara F. Stoll, FINNEGAN, HENDERSON, FARABOW, GARRETT & DUNNER, LLP, Washington, DC; R. Trevor Carter, LEAD ATTORNEY, Andrew M. McCoy, FAEGRE BAKER DANIELS LLP, Indianapolis, IN; Troy E. Grabow, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, FINNEGAN, HENDERSON, FARABOW, GARRETT & DUNNER, LLP, Washington, DC.

Page 214

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

PAUL L. FRIEDMAN, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Intex Recreation Corporation (" Intex" ) seeks an award of attorneys' fees, costs, and expenses, pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 285. That statute authorizes courts to award attorneys' fees in " exceptional cases." Specifically, Intex requests all fees and costs incurred since November 1, 2013 -- the date Team Worldwide Corporation (" TWW" ) insisted on proceeding to summary judgment despite having received an adverse claim construction.[1] TWW maintains that its summary judgment arguments were not meritless and that this case is not the kind " exceptional case" contemplated by the statute. In the alternative, it maintains that it is premature to award attorneys' fees while TWW's appeal is pending. Upon careful consideration of the parties' arguments, the relevant legal authorities, and the pertinent portions of the record in this case, the Court will grant Intex's motion.[2]

I. BACKGROUND

The facts of this case, as relevant here, are straightforward.[3] TWW and Intex manufacture inflatable air mattresses. Intex Rec. Corp. v. Team Worldwide Corp. (" Intex I" ), Civil Action No. 04-1785 (PLF), 42 F.Supp.3d 80, 2013 WL 5328372, at *2 (D.D.C. Sept. 24, 2013). TWW claims Intex's mattresses infringe its United States Patent No. 6,793,469 B2 (" the '469 Patent" ). See U.S. Patent No. 6,793,469 B2 (filed December 18, 2000). That patent describes an air mattress comprised of (1) an inflatable body, (2) a socket built in the inflatable body, (3) an electric pump that includes a pump body and an air outlet, and (4) a battery case. See '469 Patent col.1 ll.30-35 (Summary of the Invention); id. at col.7 ll.24-35, col.8 ll.24-col.9 ll.60 (Claims).

Among other aspects, Intex's mattresses have open cavities into which the electric pump components are fastened with screws. Intex Rec. Corp. v. Team Worldwide Corp. (" Intex II" ), Civil Action No. 04-1785 (PLF), 2014 WL 906105, at *4. Substantial disassembly is required to remove the pump compenents from the mattress. Id. Therefore, because " a [patent] claim is not infringed

Page 215

unless every element thereof is met in the accused device," Markman v. Westview Instruments, Inc., 52 F.3d 967, 1000 (Fed. Cir. 1995), whether that cavity constituted a " socket," as that term was used in the '469 patent, was a crucial, and potentially dispositive, question.

TWW argued that " socket," as used in the '469 Patent, meant " an opening or hollow that forms a holder for something." See Jt. Statement of Disp. Claim Terms and Phrases at 3 [Dkt. No. 138]; Def.'s Mot. for Claim Constr. Ex. A at 1 [Dkt. No. 140]. Intex, on the other hand, argued that " socket" meant " a structure that fits and holds onto an inserted part . . . so that the structure and the part are detachably connected to each other." Pl.'s Claim Constr. Br. at 19, 26 [Dkt. No. 141]. Magistrate Judge Robinson adopted TWW's definition, Intex I, ...


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