Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

ANDREW CORPORATION v. BEVERLY MANUFACTURING COMPANY

June 10, 2005.

ANDREW CORPORATION, Plaintiff,
v.
BEVERLY MANUFACTURING COMPANY, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES HOLDERMAN, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Andrew Corporation ("Andrew"), filed this suit on September 23, 2004 alleging that defendant Beverly Manufacturing Company ("Beverly"), infringed two of Andrew's United States patents No. 5,850,056 ("the '056 patent"), and No. 6,324,543 ("the '543 patent"). (Dkt. No. 1). Beverly filed an answer, affirmative defenses and counterclaim on November 8, 2004. (Dkt. No. 12). On January 7, 2005, Beverly filed a motion for partial judgment on the pleadings as to Andrew's infringement allegations under the '543 patent pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, ("Rules"). (Dkt. No. 21). On February 3, 2005, this court granted Beverly's motion to stay discovery on the '543 patent pending this court's determination of Beverly's motion for judgment on the pleadings involving the '543 patent. (Dkt. No. 27). The court's February 3, 2005 order also required Andrew to identify the claims in the '543 patent that it alleges Beverly's device infringes and required the parties to submit jointly a paginated copy of the '543 patent's prosecution history. For the reasons set forth below, this court denies Beverly's motion for judgment on the pleadings, vacates the stay of discovery and requests the parties to proceed with the agreed amended litigation schedule set on May 26, 2005. (Dkt. No. 44). BACKGROUND

The '543 patent, dated March 12, 2002, is entitled "Stackable Transmission Line Hanger." (Dkt. No. 31 at pg. 1). The '543 patent is for a device that allows the connection of transmission cables to an antenna system such as a cellular or communication tower. (Id. at 15). The patented device also contains a feature that allows it to connect with other copies of the device so that several transmission cables can be "stacked" or held by an interconnected series of the patented devices to the transmission tower.

  Andrew's complaint alleges that Beverly's product Part No. 62875 ("Part No. 62875"), infringes Andrew's '543 patent. (Dkt. No. 1 at ¶ 13). Andrew asserts that Beverly's device infringes Claims 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 31, 32, 33, and 38 of the '543 patent. (Dkt. No. 30). Andrew seeks a judgment of infringement, equitable and monetary relief, costs and attorneys' fees. (Dkt. No. 1 at pg. 4). Exhibit B to Andrew's complaint is a letter dated August 12, 2004 sent by one of its attorneys to Beverly asserting that Beverly's Part No. 62875 infringes Andrew's '543 patent. The August 12, 2004 letter also demanded that Beverly stop producing and selling Beverly's Part No. 62875 and that Beverly provide an accounting of all Part No. 62875s sold since Andrew received its '543 patent. (Dkt. No. 1 Ex. B).

  Beverly filed a counterclaim seeking a declaration that its Part No. 62875 does not infringe the '543 patent and seeking attorneys' fees. (Dkt. No. 12 at pg. 8-9). Beverly argues that this court can decide this issue of noninfringement under a 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings. Andrew in response contends that Beverly's motion goes beyond the pleadings, and therefore the court cannot decide this issue under the present procedural posture of the case. ANALYSIS

  Andrew's complaint invokes this court's subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 35 U.S.C. §§ 271 and 281 and 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1338. (Dkt. No. 1 at ¶ 4). An actual controversy exists between Andrew and Beverly so as to allow for the existence of Beverly's requested relief of a judgment on the pleadings of noninfringement. See Anoto AB v. Sekendur, No. 03 C 4723, 2004 WL 2434220, at * 1 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 28, 2004) (citing Arrowhead Indus. Water, Inc. v. Ecolochem, Inc., 846 F.2d 731, 736 (Fed. Cir. 1988)).

  A. Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings verses Summary Judgment

  As previously mentioned, the parties disagree whether this court can determine at this stage in this litigation whether Beverly's Part No. 62875 infringes Andrew's '543 patent. Beverly argues that this court can decide the question of infringement under a motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure ("Rules"). Andrew counters that Beverly's motion and secondary information provided by Beverly in support of its motion goes beyond the pleadings, and therefore inappropriately converts the motion to one for summary judgment. Andrew further argues summary judgment is not appropriate at this stage in the litigation because the parties have not yet to engage in discovery on the '543 patent/Part No. 62875 issue. Andrew also argues that Beverly should be denied summary judgment because Beverly has failed to follow the procedural requirements for the submission of factual information in support of summary judgment under Local Civil Rule 56 (N.D. Ill.).

  As to procedural rules this court is bound to follow Seventh Circuit law because as the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has stated, the regional appellate rules govern "procedural matters not unique to the areas that are exclusively assigned to the Federal Circuit," National Pesto Indus., Inc. v. West Bend Co., 76 F.3d 1185, 1188 n. 2 (Fed. Cir. 1996) (citing Lummus Indus., v. D.M & E. Corp., 862 F.2d 267 (Fed. Cir. 1996)). This court is, of course, bound by Federal Circuit law on substantive areas of patent law exclusive to the Federal Circuit's jurisdiction, but, this court must look to the law of the Seventh Circuit for the proper method of addressing a motion for judgment on the pleadings.

  Andrew has not provided, and this court has been unable to identify through its own research, any binding authority from the Seventh Circuit or persuasive authority from the Federal Circuit that holds that it is per se inappropriate for a court to address a counterclaim of noninfringement by the procedural means of a motion for judgment on the pleadings. Andrew's argument is not that it is improper in general to address a motion for a judgment on the pleadings, but that what Beverly is attempting to do violates the requirements for a judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c) by improperly requiring the conversion of the motion to one for summary judgment under Rule 56.

  The court, after reviewing the arguments presented by counsel, believes that the proper procedure for the court to follow is to address Beverly's motion for judgment on the pleadings as such under Rule 12(c) and not convert Beverly's motion into one for summary judgment under Rule 56.*fn1 1. Standard of Review for Rule 12(c) Judgment on the Pleadings

  Rule 12(c) permits for a motion for judgment on pleadings at a point after the close of the pleadings but within such time that the motion would not delay the trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). A court reviewing a Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings must apply the same standard as applied for a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief maybe granted. Guise v. BMW Mortgage Inc., 377 F.3d 795, 798 (7th Cir. 2004). The well-pleaded allegations in the complaint must be accepted as true and the ambiguities in the complaint must be construed in favor of the plaintiff. Thompson v. Illinois Dep't of Prof'l Regulation, 300 F.3d 750, 753 (7th Cir. 2002). Granting a Rule 12(c) motion is only permissible "when it appears beyond a doubt that the plaintiff cannot prove any facts to support a claim for relief and the moving party demonstrates that there are no material issues of fact to be resolved." Guise, 377 F.3d at 798.

  "In a motion for judgment on the pleadings, the court considers the pleadings alone, which consist of the complaint, the answer, and any written instruments attached as exhibits." Housing Auth. Risk Retention Group, Inc. v. Chicago Hous. Auth., 378 F.3d 596, 599 (7th Cir. 2004) adopting No. 02 C 4474 (N.D. Ill. 2003). The court can also consider copies of written documents that the defendant attaches to the motion when the documents are referred to in the plaintiff's complaint, they are central to the plaintiff's claims but were not attached as exhibits, Albany Bank & Trust Co. v. Exxon Mobil Corp., 310 F.3d 969, 971 (7th Cir. 2002). The court can also take judicial notice of matters in the public record. Anderson v. Simon, 310 F.3d 969, 971 (7th Cir. 2002). 2. Material Considered by the Court on the Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings

  Andrew objects to the consideration of other patents and their prosecution histories to which Beverly has referred in its motion and supporting memorandum. Andrew's view is that the court should only consider the pleadings and the '543 patent, and that ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.