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Arlington Industries, Inc. v. Bridgeport Fittings

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA


September 10, 2009

ARLINGTON INDUSTRIES, INC., PLAINTIFF
v.
BRIDGEPORT FITTINGS, INC., DEFENDANT
BRIDGEPORT FITTINGS, INC., CONSOLIDATED PLAINTIFF
v.
ARLINGTON INDUSTRIES, INC., CONSOLIDATED DEFENDANT

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Conner

ORDER

AND NOW, this 10th day of September, 2009, upon consideration of Bridgeport Fittings' ("Bridgeport") motion in limine*fn1 (Doc. 478 ¶ 3) to preclude Arlington Industries ("Arlington") from introducing evidence regarding Bridgeport's design intent, wherein Bridgeport argues that "[b]ecause an inventor's design intent is not an element of infringement, such evidence and arguments should be excluded under Rules 402 and 403 of the Federal Rules of Evidence," (Doc. 484 at 1), and the court recognizing that design intent is not an element of infringement, see Hilton Davis Chem. Co. v. Warner-Jenkinson Co., 62 F.3d 1512, 1519 (Fed. Cir. 1995), rev'd on other grounds, 520 U.S. 17 (1997), but that proper disposition of Arlington's willful infringement claim requires the factfinder to examine the totality of the circumstances, see Liquid Dynamics Corp. v. Vaughan Co., Inc., 449 F.3d 1209, 1225 (Fed. Cir. 2006) (stating that a "finding of willful infringement is made after considering the totality of the circumstances," and observing that "[t]he drawing of inferences, particularly in respect of an intent-implicating question such as willfulness, is peculiarly within the province of the fact finder that observed the witnesses" (quoting Rolls-Royce, Ltd. v. GTE Valeron Corp., 800 F.2d 1101, 1110 (Fed. Cir. 1986))), and that design intent may be relevant in such an inquiry,*fn2 see In re Seagate Tech., LLC, 497 F.3d 1360, 1371 (Fed. Cir. 2007) (setting forth a two-step willfulness inquiry, to wit: (1) "the infringer acted despite an objectively high likelihood that its actions constituted infringement of a valid patent," and (2) that the objectively-defined risk "was either known or so obvious that it should have been known to the accused infringer"), and the court concluding that the probative value of the design intent evidence is not substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, see FED. R. EVID. 403; see also Blancha v. Raymark Indus., 972 F.2d 507, 516 (3d Cir. 1992) ("Evidence should be excluded under Rule 403 only sparingly since the evidence is concededly probative."), it is hereby ORDERED that Bridgeport's motion (Doc. 478 ¶ 3) is DENIED.

CHRISTOPHER C. CONNER United States District Judge


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