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Static Media LLC v. Leader Accessories LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

August 30, 2019

STATIC MEDIA LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
LEADER ASSOCIATES LLC, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          WILLIAM M. CONLEY, DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Static Media LLC, the owner of a design patent for a stadium seat, accuses defendant Leader Associates LLC of patent infringement. Before the court is defendant's motion for summary judgment, seeking judgment in its favor on grounds of indefiniteness or noninfringement. (Dkt. #28.) For the reasons that follow, the court will deny defendant's motion as to invalidity based on indefiniteness, but will grant the motion as to defendant's infringement challenge.[1]

         UNDISPUTED FACTS[2]

         A. Overview of the Parties

         Plaintiff Static Media LLC is the owner of the patent in suit. Anthony DoVale is its managing member. DoVale is an attorney specializing in intellectual properly law, including the prosecution of patents. Defendant Leader Associates LLC is based in Beloit, Wisconsin, and advertised, distributed, offered for sale and sold the accused product, sold as the “Leaser Accessories Wide Padded Folding Stadium Chair.”

         B. U.S. Patent No. D771, 400

         On November 5, 2016, the United States Patent and Trademark Office issued U.S. Patent No. D771, 400 (the “‘D400 patent”) to DoVale. DoVale is the sole inventor named on the patent, and claims to have personally invented, designed and conceived of the stadium chair disclosed in the patent. The patent claims “[t]he ornamental design for the stadium seat, as shown and described below.” (Compl., Ex. 1 (dkt. #1-1) 2.) The patent contains eight figures of the stadium seat from various perspectives, which are displayed below, and perhaps most distinguished by its clean lines and simple design. Figures 1 and 2 show the seat from left and right perspectives:

         Figure 3 shows the chair from the front view and Figure 5 from the rear view:

         (Image Omitted)

         Figures 4 and 7 show the left and right side elevational view:

         (Image Omitted)

         Figure 6 displays the top view and Figure 8 displays the bottom view:

         (Image Omitted)

         C. Assignment and License

         DoVale assigned all rights, title and interest in the 'D400 patent to Static Media on September 10, 2017. With DoVale's consent and authorization, Static Media entered into a license agreement with Belnick, Inc., granting Belnick an exclusive license to make, use and sell any product incorporating or embodying the 'D400 patent. Belnick manufactured stadium chairs incorporating the design disclosure in the 'D400 patent, and it has sold thousands of such chairs, including through websites such as Amazon.com.

         D. Accused Infringing Product

         Via its expert, defendant submits photographs of the accused infringing product, taken from similar perspectives as in the figures in the 'D400 patent:

         (Image Omitted)

         (Kemnitzer Non-Infringement Rept. (dkt. #34) ¶¶ 51-74.)

         E. Prior Art References

         In his report, defendant's expert also identified a wide assortment of prior design patents for stadium seats, including references cited by the examiner in the 'D400 application, which are marked with an asterisk:

         (Image Omitted)

         (Kemnitzer Non-Infringement Rept. (dkt. ...


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