26 F.3d 139 (Fed. Cir. 1994), 93-1277, Durable Inc. v. Packaging Corp. of America

Docket Nº:93-1277.
Citation:26 F.3d 139
Party Name:DURABLE INC., Plaintiff-Appellant, v. PACKAGING CORPORATION OF AMERICA, Reynolds Metals Company, and Handi-Foil Corp., Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:April 18, 1994
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
 
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Page 139

26 F.3d 139 (Fed. Cir. 1994)

DURABLE INC., Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

PACKAGING CORPORATION OF AMERICA, Reynolds Metals Company, and Handi-Foil Corp., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 93-1277.

United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

April 18, 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 and FI CTAF App. V, IOP 9 regarding use of unpublished opinions)

31 U.S.P.Q.2d 1513

N.D.Ill.

AFFIRMED.

Before RICH and LOURIE, Circuit Judges, and MESKILL, Senior Circuit Judge. [*]

RICH, Circuit Judge.

DECISION

Durable Inc. (Durable) appeals that part of the February 16, 1993, decision of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, holding that none of claims 17-20 of United States Patent No. Re. 33,397 (Anders Patent) was infringed by Handi-Foil Corp. (Handi-Foil), Packaging Corporation of America (PCA), or Reynolds Metals Company (Reynolds). For the reasons discussed below, we affirm.

DISCUSSION

I. Background

A. Claimed Invention

The Anders patent is directed to disposable aluminum oven pans having handles. Fig. 1 of the Anders patent, which illustrates a pan according to the claimed invention, is set forth below together with Fig. 2, which illustrates a preferred method of fastening the handles to the pan:

TABULAR OR GRAPHIC MATERIAL SET AT THIS POINT IS NOT DISPLAYABLE

Claim 17 of the Anders patent, the only independent claim at issue, reads as follows, the numerals in brackets referring to elements illustrated in Figs. 1 and 2:

An oven pan [10] which comprises:

a disposable stamped aluminum pan structure having a bottom [12], side walls [14, 16, 18, 20] and a rim [22] at the periphery of the side walls;

a first handle [24] fastened to the rim at a first location [30, 32] thereof;

first means [34] fastening said first handle to the rim;

a second handle [26] fastened to the rim at a second location thereof, opposed to said first location;

second means fastening said second handle to the rim; and

support means [40] extending from said first handle to said second handle and attached thereto and underlying the bottom of the pan. 1 [Emphasis added.]

The Anders patent discloses that the means fastening the handles to the rim of the pan are preferably rivets, as shown in Fig. 2. The Anders patent also discloses that other fastening means, such as crimping or adhesive means, may be used if desired. Anders Patent, at column 2, lines 58-63.

B. Accused Pans

Illustrations of the three aluminum pans alleged to infringe claims 17-20 are provided below:

TABULAR OR GRAPHIC MATERIAL SET AT THIS POINT IS NOT DISPLAYABLE

As is evident, the handles in each of the accused pans are not fastened directly to the rim of the pan. In the Handi-Foil and PCA structures, the handles are integral with underlying support wires, which are in turn attached to a lateral cross-piece (i.e., running perpendicular to the underlying support wires). It is the lateral cross-piece, not the handles, which is attached to the rim in these pans. In Reynolds' two-piece unit having a removable reusable rack, the handles are part of the removable rack and are not fastened to the rim at all. Rather, the rack is removably connected to the pan by way of a clamp-like member.

II. Analysis

A. Jury Instructions

Durable contends that the jury's special verdicts and the district court's corresponding judgment holding claims 17-20 non-infringed are the result of faulty jury instructions. 2 Durable argues that the district court provided misleading jury instructions regarding the manner in which "means" clauses in a combination claim are to be interpreted, by allegedly paraphrasing incorrectly language recited in Valmont Indus., Inc. v. Reinke Mfg. Co., 983 F.2d 1039, 25 USPQ2d 1451 (Fed.Cir.1993). Durable also argues that the district court erred by refusing to give a jury instruction that Durable requested regarding the doctrine of claim differentiation.

For Durable to prevail on this issue, Durable must establish that "the jury instructions read in their entirety were incorrect or incomplete as given." Biodex Corp. v. Loredan Biomedical, Inc., 946 F.2d 850, 854, 20 USPQ2d 1252, 1255 (Fed.Cir.1991). As to Durable's assertion regarding its suggested claim differentiation instruction, Durable has the additional burden of showing that the suggested instruction would have cured the errors, if any, in the instructions...

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