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The Green Pet Shop Enterprises LLC v. Maze Innovations Inc.

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

December 28, 2016

THE GREEN PET SHOP ENTERPRISES, LLC Plaintiff,
v.
MAZE INNOVATIONS, INC. Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          MATTHEW F. KENNELLY United States District Judge.

         Green Pet Shop Enterprises, Inc. has sued Maze Innovations, Inc. for infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 8, 720, 218 (the '218 Patent) and 9, 226, 474 (the '474 Patent). Maze filed a motion requesting that this Court construe four terms found in both patents. The parties submitted written briefs, and the Court held a claim construction hearing on November 4, 2016. This opinion sets forth the Court's construction of disputed claim language.

         Background

         Green Pet Shop is a pet product manufacturer and owns both the '218 Patent and the '474 Patent. These patents disclose a pressure-activated cooling pad for pets. When an animal sits on the pad, components of the pad interact in order to reduce the animal's temperature. When the pet gets up-thereby reducing the pressure on the pad-the pad recharges itself. Green Pet Shop claims that its invention is an advance over prior art due to its pressure-activation and the fact that it recharges.

         Maze also makes and sells pet products, including two called the "Chilly Mat" and the "Pet Gel Mat" that are also used to cool pets. Green Pet Shop alleges that these products infringe its patents. Specifically, Green Pet Shop alleges that Maze is infringing claims 15, 16, 18, and 19 of the '218 Patent and claims 1, 11, and 16-21 of the '474 Patent.

         Maze has requested construction of four claim terms that appear frequently throughout both of Green Pet Shop's patents. The terms are used similarly throughout the patents. Claim 15 of the '218 Patent is representative of the disputed language:

A cooling platform for cooling an object, the platform comprising:
a temperature regulation layer, the temperature regulation layer having an angled segment formed by a top side and a bottom side at a predefined distance, and channels, wherein the channels form sides by contacting the top side with the bottom side; and
a pressure activated recharging cooling composition within the temperature regulation layer, the pressure activated recharging cooling composition endothermically activated and endothermically deactivated upon the application and release of pressure, respectively.

         Maze asks the Court to construe the following four terms or phrases: 1) "pressure"; 2) "a pressure activated recharging cooling composition"; 3) "the pressure activated recharging cooling composition endothermically activated . . . upon the application of pressure"; and 4) "the pressure activated recharging cooling composition . . . endothermically deactivated upon the . . . release of pressure." Green Pet Shop argues that this Court need only interpret certain portions of each phrase: 1) "pressure"; 2) "recharging"; 3) "endothermically activated"; and 4) "endothermically deactivated."

         By the end of briefing, the parties no longer disputed the meaning of "pressure, " agreeing that it should be construed as "force per unit area." The Court therefore need not construe this term and turns instead to the other three phrases proposed by Maze.

         Discussion

         I. Which terms should be interpreted

         A district court is not required to construe every limitation present in a patent's asserted claims. O2 Micro Int'l Ltd. v. Beyond Innovation Tech. Co., 521 F.3d 1351, 1362 (Fed. Cir. 2008). A court is required to construe only those terms "that are in controversy, and only to the extent necessary to resolve the controversy." Vivid Techs., Inc. v. Am. Sci. & Eng'g, Inc., 200 F.3d 795, 803 ...


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