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Hagenbuch v. Sonrai Systems

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

September 10, 2015

LEROY G. HAGENBUCH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SONRAI SYSTEMS, DEFENDANT

          For LeRoy G Hagenbuch, Plaintiff, Counter Defendant: Michael D. Freeborn, LEAD ATTORNEY, Joseph L. Fogel, Freeborn & Peters, Chicago, IL; Jacob D Koering, Jonathan Hill, Freeborn & Peters LLP, Chicago, IL.

         For Sonrai Systems, Defendant, Counter Claimant: Roger H. Stein, LEAD ATTORNEY, Nixon Peabody, Chicago, IL; James Joseph Jagoda, Lisa Colleen Sullivan, Nixon Peabody LLP, Chicago, IL.

Page 1214

         MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

         Honorable Thomas M. Durkin, United States District Judge.

         LeRoy G. Hagenbuch sued defendant Sonrai Systems for allegedly infringing U.S. Patent No. 5,644,489 (the " '489 Patent" ) and U.S. Patent No. 5,416,706 (the " '706 Patent" ) (collectively, " Patents-in-Suit" ). R. 1. On March 27, 2015, the Court granted Sonrai's motion for summary judgment of patent expiration as to both patents. R. 48 ( Hagenbuch v. Sonrai Systems, No. 13 C 7042, 2015 WL 1503423 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 27, 2015)). Hagenbuch has filed a motion to reconsider the Court's ruling as it applies to the '489 Patent, only. R. 50. For the following reasons, the Court grants Hagenbuch's motion.

         Background

         The Court will assume that the reader is familiar with its memorandum opinion granting Sonrai's summary judgment motion.

         Legal Standard

         Motions for reconsideration " serve a limited function: to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence." Caisse Nationale de Credit Agricole v. CBI Indus., 90 F.3d 1264, 1269 (7th Cir. 1996) (citation omitted). They are proper where the court " has patently misunderstood a party, or has made a decision outside the adversarial issues presented to the Court by the parties, or has made an error not of reasoning but of apprehension." Bank of Waunakee v. Rochester Cheese Sales, Inc., 906 F.2d 1185, 1191 (7th Cir. 1990) (citations omitted). Motions for reconsideration are not, however, " appropriate vehicle[s] for relitigating arguments that the Court previously rejected or for arguing issues that could have been raised during the consideration of the motion presently under reconsideration." Caine v. Burge, 897 F.Supp.2d 714, 717 (N.D. Ill. 2012) (citing Caisse, 90 F.3d at 1270).

         Analysis

         I. The Court's Ruling that the Patents-in-Suit have Expired

         During the prosecution of U.S. Application Serial No. 351,179 (the '179 Application), the patent examiner raised an obvious-type double patenting objection. Hagenbuch, 2015 WL 1503423, at *1. Hagenbuch attempted to satisfy the examiner's objection by filing a terminal disclaimer similar to the form disclaimer in the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (" MPEP" ):

I hereby disclaim the terminal part of any patent granted on the above-identified application, which would extend beyond the expiration date of the full statutory term of United States Patent No. 4,839,835 [the '835 Patent] . . . .

Id. at *2 (emphasis added). Through several file wrapper continuations, the '179 Application became U.S. Application Serial No. 08/102,531 (the '531 Application). Id. at *1. During the prosecution of that application, the examiner reinstated the obvious-type double patenting objection because the disclaimer Hagenbuch had previously filed " was worded in such that it did not apply to any subsequently filed applications claiming benefit ...


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