The opinion of the court was delivered by: St. Eve, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
On March 28, 2001, Judge Coar granted Defendants' motion for partial
summary judgment, holding that Patent No. 5,795,398 ("the '398 patent")
was invalid under the on sale bar. See Finnsugar Bioproducts, Inc. v.
Amalgamated Sugar Company, LLC, No. 97 C 8746, 2001 WL 303683 (N.D. Ill.
March 28, 2001) (hereinafter "Finnsugar I"). Plaintiff subsequently moved
for reconsideration of this order in light of Group One, Ltd. v. Hallmark
Cards, Inc., 254 F.3d 1041 (Fed. Cir. 2001), or, in the alternative, for
certification of the issue for appeal. On March 25, 2002, Judge Coar
denied that motion. See Finnsugar Bioproducts, Inc. v. Amalgamated Sugar
Company, LLC, No. 97 C 8746, 2002 WL 460812 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 26, 2002)
(hereinafter "Finnsugar II"). A detailed factual background of this case
is set forth in Judge Coar's opinions, and will not be reiterated here.
See Finnsugar I and Finnsugar II. On August 30, 2002, the case was
transferred from Judge Coar to this Court, and shortly thereafter,
Plaintiff filed a renewed motion for reconsideration, this time in light
of In re Kollar, 286 F.3d 1326 (Fed. Cir. 2002).*fn1
As the party seeking reconsideration, Finnsugar bears a heavy burden.
The Seventh Circuit has repeatedly cautioned that "[m]otions for
reconsideration serve a limited function: to correct manifest errors of
law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence." Publishers
Resource, Inc. v. Walker-Davis Publications, Inc., 762 F.2d 557, 561
(7th Cir. 1985) (quotation omitted); see also In re Oil Spill by "Amoco
Cadiz" Off Coast of France on March 16, 1978, 794 F. Supp. 261, 267
(N.D. Ill. 1992) ("motions to reconsider are not at the disposal of
parties who want to `rehash' old arguments."). Accordingly, a court will
entertain a motion for reconsideration only where the moving party can
establish that the law or facts have changed significantly since the
issue was presented, or the court has "patently misunderstood a party,"
has "made a decision outside the adversarial issues presented," or has
"made an error not of reasoning, but of apprehension." Bank of Waunakee
v. Rochester Cheese Sales, 906 F.2d 1185, 1191 (7th Cir. 1990). Whether
to grant reconsideration is committed to the sound discretion of the
court. Cause Nationale de Credit v. CBI Industries, Inc., 90 F.3d 1264,
1270 (7th Cir. 1996).
Plaintiff's principal basis for reconsideration is the opinion by the
Federal Circuit in In re Kollar, arguing that the Federal Circuit in
Kollar "changed the law pertaining to the on sale bar." (See R. 167-1,
Pl.'s Renewed Mot. for Reconsideration, at 1.) Specifically, Plaintiff
suggests that In re Kollar stands for the proposition that there is a
distinction between process claims and product claims and that merely
granting a license to an invention, without more, does not trigger the on
sale bar under 35 U.S.C. § 102 (b). (See R. 164-1 Pl.'s Mem. in
Support of Renewed Mot. for Reconsideration, at 7.)
As Defendants point out, however, In re Kollar did not actually "change
the law" regarding what constitutes an offer to sell sufficient to invoke
the on sale bar. To the contrary, the Federal Circuit's opinion expressly
recognized that its holding was based on precedent, including
Mass-Hamilton Group v. LaGard, Inc., 156 F.3d 1206 (Fed Cir. 1988). See
In re Kollar, 286 F.3d at 1330 ("We have held that merely granting a
license to an invention, without more, does not trigger the on-sale bar
of § 102(b).") (emphasis added; citing Mass-Hamilton Group). Thus, it
cannot be said that In re Kollar "changed the law" regarding the on sale
Moreover, earlier in this case, Plaintiff raised — and Judge Coar
rejected as distinguishable — several of the cases cited by the
Federal Circuit in In re Kollar. See, e.g., Finnsugar, 2001 WL 303683, at
*6 (distinguishing Mass-Hamilton). In re Kollar, therefore, does not
constitute adequate grounds for reconsideration.
B. The "Ready for Patenting" Issue
Plaintiff also suggests that reconsideration should be granted because
the M9B3 process underlying the '398 patent was not "ready for
patenting." Specifically, Plaintiff argues that this Court "erroneously
concluded that the invention was `ready for patenting,' because the
inventor had rendered a one page flow diagram of the M9B3 process . . .
[and] there was evidence . . . that further development work and
verification was done on the invention." (See R. 164-1 Pl.'s Mem. in
Support of Renewed Mot. for Reconsideration, at 10.) Judge Coar,
however, specifically rejected this argument as a basis for
reconsideration in his March 25, 2002 order, observing that ...