By: Franklin M. Smith and John S. Artz

John S. Artz (Member, Troy) and Franklin M. Smith  (Associate, Troy) recently won a motion for summary judgment establishing that Dickinson Wright’s client, IdeaVillage Products Corp. (“IdeaVillage”) does not infringe a competitor’s patent.  The suit, filed by Choon’s Design, Inc. (“Choon’s”) in the Eastern District of Michigan (Case No. 13-cv-13568), centers around two patents on hand-held looms for creating rubber band bracelets, with Choon’s seeking damages in excess of $20 Million for alleged infringement by IdeaVillage.

IdeaVillage, a developer and marketer of consumer products in the “As Seen On TV” industry, sold its product, the FunLoom, to large retailers throughout the United States. Choon’s, on the other hand, sold a competing loom product, known as the Rainbow Loom, in the specialty toy market. Choon’s holds several patents related to loom products and filed suit against IdeaVillage, seeking a finding that IdeaVillage infringes two of these patents. After initiation of the lawsuit and the filing of a preliminary injunction, IdeaVillage retained Dickinson Wright to spearhead its defense. Dickinson Wright successfully caused Choon’s to withdraw its motion for preliminary injunction. After, Dickinson Wright secured a favorable Markman claim construction ruling from the district court, Dickinson Wright filed a motion for summary judgment that, in view of the Court’s favorable claim construction ruling, Choon’s first patent-in-suit is not infringed either literally or under the doctrine of equivalents, and the second patent is invalid. Choon’s concurrently filed a motion for summary judgment seeking to preclude IdeaVillage from raising one of its invalidity arguments at trial.

After a hearing in July 2017 on the parties’ summary judgment motions, the Court issued two opinions. The first held that IdeaVillage’s FunLoom product does not infringe the primary patent-in-suit, thereby eliminating the vast majority of IdeaVillage’s exposure to damages stemming from Choon’s lawsuit. With respect to Choon’s remaining patent-in-suit, the Court found invalidity to be a question of fact for a jury. In its second opinion, the Court denied Choon’s summary judgment motion and ordered the parties to go to trial on the issues of infringement and validity of the second patent.

About the Authors:
John S. Artz has more than twenty five years of experience and practices in all areas of intellectual property litigation. He also has extensive experience with the acquisition, management, and prosecution of patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secret assets. He serves and has served as lead counsel for many companies in federal courts across the country, including the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. John may be reached in our Troy office at 248-433-7262.

Franklin Smith  has extensive experience with researching and drafting complaints, answers, briefs, summary judgment and other dispositive and non-dispositive motions, stipulations, settlement agreements, protective orders, claim charts, Markman briefs and hearing presentations, inter partes review petitions and patent owner responses, and ex parte re-examination requests in patent, trademark, and copyright litigation.  Franklin may be reached in our Troy office at 248-433-7393.