22 F.3d 1107 (Fed. Cir. 1994), 93-1167, Al-Site Corp. v. Bonneau Co.

Docket Nº:93-1167.
Citation:22 F.3d 1107
Party Name:AL-SITE CORP., Plaintiff-Appellant, v. The BONNEAU COMPANY, Defendant-Appellee.
Case Date:March 31, 1994
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

Page 1107

22 F.3d 1107 (Fed. Cir. 1994)

AL-SITE CORP., Plaintiff-Appellant,


The BONNEAU COMPANY, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 93-1167.

United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

March 31, 1994

Editorial Note:

This opinion appears in the Federal reporter in a table titled "Table of Decisions Without Reported Opinions". (See FI CTAF Rule 47.6 regarding use of unpublished opinions)

33 U.S.P.Q.2d 1136



Before RICH, RADER and SCHALL, Circuit Judges.


SCHALL, Circuit Judge.

Al-Site Corporation (Al-Site), assignee of U.S. Patent 4,976,532 (the '532 patent), appeals from the November 23, 1992 final judgment of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, Case No. CV 91-2167, granting partial summary judgment of non-infringement of the '532 patent in favor of The Bonneau Company (Bonneau). Because Al-Site has failed to identify evidence of record that establishes the existence of a genuine issue of material fact, we affirm.



The '532 patent claims a hanger for displaying eyeglasses. In the district court, Al-Site alleged that two separate products manufactured by Bonneau infringed independent claim 8 of the '532 patent. Bonneau discontinued manufacture of one of the accused products shortly after Al-Site had filed suit in the district court. Bonneau continued to manufacture, however, the second of its accused products--namely, the "Bonneau Slide Hook"--which is the subject of the present appeal. Bonneau moved for partial summary judgment that its Slide Hook did not infringe the '532 patent, either literally or under the doctrine of equivalents. In pertinent part, claim 8 recites "a body having aperture means adapted to receive a horizontally extending cantilevered support." Bonneau conceded for the purposes of summary judgment that its accused Slide Hook incorporated all of the limitations of claim 8 except for the "aperture means."

Relying on the specification and drawings of the '532 patent, the district court concluded that a proper construction of claim 8 limited the aperture means to an enclosed hole for performing the recited function of "receiv[ing] a horizontally extending cantilevered support." It was undisputed that Bonneau's Slide Hook does not have an enclosed hole, but rather utilizes a "T-shaped" configuration to perform the claimed function. In view of this fact, the district court concluded that Bonneau had established the absence of a genuine issue of material fact regarding literal infringement of claim 8. Concerning infringement under the doctrine of equivalents, it was conceded by Al-Site that, while the claimed invention was usable with either a single support arm or a pair of support arms, Bonneau's Slide Hook was not usable with a single support arm. Rather, the Bonneau Slide Hook necessarily required a pair of support arms due to its T-shaped configuration. In view of this fact, the district court accepted Bonneau's position that no genuine issue of material fact existed with respect to the conclusion that the claimed and accused devices do not operate in substantially the same way. The questions presented on appeal are (i) whether the district court correctly interpreted claim 8 as a matter of law, and (ii) whether the district court correctly determined the absence of a genuine issue of material fact in granting Bonneau's motion for partial summary judgment of non-infringement.



In deciding whether to grant a motion for summary judgment, a court must first determine whether a genuine issue exists as to any material fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). A genuine dispute is shown to exist if sufficient evidence is presented such that a reasonable fact finder could decide the issue in favor of the non-movant. Sweats Fashions, Inc. v. Pannill Knitting Co., 833 F.2d 1560, 1562 (Fed.Cir.1987). In other words, a motion for summary judgment is properly granted only, "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." A.B. Chance Co. v. RTE Corp., 854 F.2d 1307, 1310 (Fed.Cir.1988). If the moving party satisfies its burden, summary judgment must be granted unless the non-movant presents evidence sufficient to establish the existence of a genuine issue of material fact. See SRI Int'l v. Matsushita Elec. Corp.,...

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