Patent litigators from the law firm Warner Norcross & Judd LLP have successfully defended a patent infringement case brought by Attica Automation covering automated inspection equipment.
Earlier this month, a jury in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Michigan agreed that Clawson-based Linear Group Services and ND Industries had not infringed a patent owned by Attica Automation. Attica brought its suit in 2013 against Linear and ND Industries, alleging that Linear had copied patented technology in developing its new automatic sorting equipment. Attica also accused ND Industries of infringement through its use of Linear’s machines.
Linear introduced a new automated inspection machine in 2011, which quickly gained acceptance by the fastener industry. The Linear machine adopted a new approach, removing the “good parts” from the line and allowing “bad parts” to continue on into a reject bin. Previous systems, including the method covered by Attica’s patent, had removed the “bad parts” from the line.
According to Jim DeFillipi, director of engineering at Linear, the advantage of the Linear approach is that in case of a failure, the Linear machine had the potential to lose only a single good part. This is in contrast to older systems, where a failure would result in contaminating the “good parts” and potentially lead to catastrophic results.
Douglas A. Dozeman and James Moskal led the Warner Norcross litigation team, arguing that Linear had developed a new and better machine that used technology substantially different from Attica. The jury agreed, finding that there was no evidence of patent infringement after a one-week trial before the Hon. Gershwin Drain in the Federal Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
“We were incredibly pleased to secure vindication for our clients, Linear and ND Industries,” Dozeman said. “Our clients had maintained, and we were able to demonstrate to the jury, that Linear’s equipment design was significantly different from that of the plaintiff and did not infringe on its patent in any way.
“The market agrees that the new Linear system is the superior approach and has quickly made Linear the sales leader because of its focus on innovation and efficiency.”
Mike Garofalo, ND vice president, noted: “This was a complete victory for our team and for our technology. We have long been an innovator and leader in our field, and strongly believed we had not infringed on Attica’s patent. We appreciate the work that Doug, Jim and the entire team at Warner Norcross did to help us reach this decision and look forward to continuing the success of Linear and ND.”
Based in Clawson, Mich., ND Industries has nearly six decades of experience developing and supplying high-quality fastener coating products and services to a wide variety of industries, including fastener and auto supplier companies. The company has eight processing centers across the country, as well as in Taiwan, China and Turkey.
About Warner Norcross
Warner Norcross & Judd LLP is a corporate law firm with 230 attorneys practicing in eight offices throughout Michigan: Grand Rapids, Holland, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Macomb County, Midland, Muskegon and Southfield. By providing discerning and proactive legal advice, Warner Norcross forges a better partnership with its clients. To learn more, visit www.wnj.com or follow us on twitter @WNJLLP.