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Morningware, Inc v. Hearthware Home Products

April 12, 2011

MORNINGWARE, INC
v.
HEARTHWARE HOME PRODUCTS, INC.



Name of Assigned Judge Amy J. St. Eve Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge than Assigned Judge

CASE TITLE

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

The Court grants IBC-Hearthware, Inc.'s motion for partial reconsideration [166.]

O[ For further details see text below.] Notices mailed by Judicial staff.

STATEMENT

On February 23, 2011, the Court issued its construction of eight disputed claim terms. (R. 163.) On March 9, 2011, IBC-Hearthware moved for partial reconsideration, requesting that the Court reconsider its construction of "cooking enclosure" to mean "an oven housing and a metallic oven pan supported by a base."

(R. 167.) For reasons explained below, the Court grants Hearthware's motion for reconsideration and concludes that "cooking enclosure" requires no construction.

BACKGROUND

The Court presumes familiarity with the case, including its February 23, 2011, Opinion ("the Opinion"). Briefly, though, Hearthware alleges that Morningware's use and sale of the Halogen Convection Oven Model H0-1200 infringed U.S. Patent No. 6,201,217 ("the '217 patent").

In concluding that "cooking enclosure" means "an oven housing and a metallic oven pan supported by a base," the Court relied first on the Summary of the Invention, which specifies that "[t]he cooking enclosure is defined by an oven housing and an oven pan located beneath the oven housing." (R. 140-1 at 11.) This definition, the Court found, meant that the "cooking enclosure" constitutes "an oven housing" and "an oven pan."

(R. 163 at 5.) In finding that the "oven pan" that forms part of the "cooking enclosure" must be metallic, the Court looked to the Summary of the Invention, which states that "[t]he cooking enclosure includes . . . a metallic oven pan . . ." (Id.) It also observed that the Abstract provided that the claimed invention "include[s] . . . a metallic oven pan." (Id..) It further looked to the Background of the Invention, which provides that "it is . . . known for the lower portion of the cooking enclosure . . . to be defined by a metallic pan . . ." (Id.) In addition, the Court observed that the Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiment describes an exemplary embodiment of the invention, which entails the use of a "metallic oven pan." (Id.) Finally, the Court concluded that a base must support the "oven pan" within the "cooking enclosure" because the Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiment reveals that "[t]he base further includes one or more supports for the oven pan . . ." (Id. at 6.) The Court also noted that the Summary of the Invention provides that, "[a]ccording to one aspect of the invention . . . an electric oven includes . . . a cooking enclosure supported by the base[.]" (Id.)

On the basis of this evidence, the Court adopted the construction that Hearthware now challenges.

LEGAL STANDARD

Hearthware purports to bring its motion for reconsideration under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e), which governs motions "to alter or amend a judgment." Fed. R. Civ. P. 59(e). Rule 59(e) does not apply in the present case, however, because the Court has not entered judgment in favor of any party. See, e.g., Santos v. The Boeing Co., No. 02-CV-9310, 2004 WL 2515873, at * 2 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 5, 2004) ("Rule 59(e) only applies when a party seeks the reconsideration of a ruling that was accompanied with a final judgment. No final judgment ...


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