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Advanced Steel Recovery, LLC v. X-Body Equipment, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

November 12, 2015

ADVANCED STEEL RECOVERY, LLC, Plaintiff-Appellant
v.
X-BODY EQUIPMENT, INC., JEWELL ATTACHMENTS, LLC, Defendants-Appellees

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California in No. 2:12-cv-01004-GEB-DAD, Judge Garland E. Burrell, Jr.

WAYNE M. BARSKY, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Los Angeles, CA, argued for plaintiff-appellant. Also represented by BLAINE H. EVANSON, JENNIFER RHO; CASEY JAMES MCCRACKEN, Irvine, CA; DANIEL M. CISLO, KELLY W. CUNNINGHAM, MARK D. NIELSEN, Cislo & Thomas LLP, Los Angeles, CA.

ROBERT M. HARKINS, JR., Locke Lord, LLP, San Francisco, CA, argued for defendants-appellees. Also represented by HUGH S. BALSAM, Chicago, IL.

Before PROST, Chief Judge, MOORE and STOLL, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 1314

[116 U.S.P.Q.2d 1982] Stoll, Circuit Judge.

Advanced Steel Recovery, LLC (" Advanced Steel" ) appeals the district court's summary judgment that X-Body Equipment, Inc. and Jewell Attachments, LLC (collectively, " X-Body" ) do not infringe the asserted claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,061,950 (" the '950 patent" ). For the reasons below, we affirm as to both literal infringement and infringement under the doctrine of equivalents.

Background

Advanced Steel owns by assignment the '950 patent, describing systems and methods of loading shipping containers with bulk material for storage or transport. Material is loaded into the top of a rectangular container packer, which is moved along a transfer base by a hydraulically powered piston-and-cylinder unit towards a shipping container. A second piston-and-cylinder unit then pushes [116 U.S.P.Q.2d 1983] the material out of the container packer and into the shipping container by a push blade. Figure 10 of the '950 patent shows a container packer system with the container packer depicted as extending partly into a shipping container.

Page 1315

Relevant to this appeal, the asserted claims of the '950 patent require that the first piston-and-cylinder unit (the " container packer piston-and-cylinder unit" ) be connected to the " transfer base proximate end " and the " container packer proximate end." '950 patent col. 5 ll. 23-25 (emphases added). Representative claim 1, with the disputed claim terms italicized for emphasis, recites the following:

1. A container packing system, which comprises:

a transfer base including proximate and distal ends and a container packer guide;

a container packer including a proximate end, a distal end with an opening, opposite sidewalls, a floor and an interior;

said container packer being movable longitudinally along said container packer guide between a retracted position on said transfer base and an extended position extending at least partially from said transfer base distal end;

a container packer drive connected to said transfer base and said container packer and adapted for moving said container packer between its extended and retracted positions;

a material transfer assembly mounted in said container packer interior and adapted for discharging bulk material through said container packer distal end opening;

a material transfer assembly drive connected to said material transfer assembly and adapted for operating said material transfer assembly;

said material transfer assembly comprising a push blade assembly located in and affixed to said container packer and movable longitudinally between a retracted position in proximity to said container packer proximate end and an extended position in proximity to said container packer distal end;

said push blade assembly including a push blade extending transversely across said container packer interior;

said container packer drive comprising a container packer piston-and-cylinder unit connected to said transfer base proximate [116 U.S.P.Q.2d 1984] end and said container packer proximate end ;

an hydraulic power source mounted on said transfer base and connected to said container packer piston-and-cylinder unit;

Page 1316

said material transfer assembly drive comprising a push blade assembly piston-and-cylinder unit connected to said hydraulic power source and adapted for extending and retracting said push blade assembly between an extended position distally beyond said transfer base distal end and a retracted position adjacent to said container packer proximate end within said container packer interior, said push blade assembly movement sequentially cooperating with said container packer movement whereby said push blade assembly is adapted for compacting bulk material in said container; and
a transport container selectively located in proximity to said transfer base distal end and adapted for selectively receiving at least a portion of said container packer with ...

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