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Arlington Industries, Inc. v. Bridgeport Fittings, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit

July 17, 2014

ARLINGTON INDUSTRIES, INC., Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
BRIDGEPORT FITTINGS, INC., Defendant-Appellant

Page 1334

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in No. 02-CV-0134, Senior Judge A. Richard Caputo.

KATHRYN L. CLUNE, Crowell & Moring LLP, of Washington, DC, argued for plaintiff-appellee. With her on the brief were AMIR D. KATZ; and JACOB Z. ZAMBRZYCKI, of San Francisco, California. Of counsel on the brief were CARTER G. PHILLIPS and RACHEL H. TOWNSEND, Sidley Austin, LLP, of Washington, DC. Of counsel was SCOTT BITTMAN, Crowell & Moring, LLP, of New York, New York and ERIC SHUMSKY, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, of Washington, DC.

ALAN M. ANDERSON, Alan Anderson Law Firm LLC, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, argued for defendant-appellant. With him on the brief were MATTHEW R. PALEN and AARON C. NYQUIST.

Before CHEN, CLEVENGER, and HUGHES, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 1335

Hughes, Circuit Judge .

Arlington Industries, Inc. owns U.S. Patent No. 6,335,488, which claims a method for connecting electrical cables to a junction box using electrical fittings. Both Arlington and Bridgeport Fittings, Inc. manufacture and sell electrical connectors. After Arlington sued Bridgeport in 2004, the parties entered into a settlement agreement under which Bridgeport agreed to be enjoined from making and selling certain products and their " colorable imitations." Bridgeport then redesigned its electrical connectors, and Arlington sought a contempt order holding that these redesigned connectors violated the original agreement. The district court entered an order finding Bridgeport in contempt of the original injunction, but at the time of appeal, had not yet determined any sanctions for Bridgeport's contempt. Bridgeport appeals the contempt order. Because the contempt order is not a final judgment or otherwise appealable, we dismiss this appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

I

Arlington manufactured and sold a family of electrical connectors that could be snapped into place, including the Snap2 It® brand connectors. Bridgeport sold a competing line of quick-connect fittings called Snap-In[TM] and Speed-Snap[TM] connectors.

In March 2001, Arlington brought an action against Bridgeport's entire line of Snap-In[TM] connectors, including the 590-DCS and 590-DCSI Speed-Snap[TM] connectors, alleging infringement of Arlington's U.S. Patent Nos. 5,266,050 and 5,171,164.[1] Then, in January 2002, Arlington filed the action-at-issue, alleging that Bridgeport's connectors also infringed claim 1 of the '488 patent.

In April 2004, Bridgeport signed a settlement agreement stating that the '488 patent was not invalid, was not unenforceable, and was infringed by Bridgeport's 590-DCS and 590-DCSI Speed-Snap[TM] products (collectively, Old Connectors). In the settlement, Bridgeport also agreed to be " permanently enjoined from directly or indirectly making, using, selling, offering for sale or importing . . . the Speed-Snap[TM] products identified in this Action as Bridgeport's 590-DCS and 590-DCSI or any colorable imitations of such Speed-Snap[TM] Fittings" (2004 Injunction). J.A. 64 (emphasis added). The district court dismissed the case without prejudice and maintained jurisdiction to enforce the 2004 Injunction.

In late 2005, Bridgeport redesigned its connectors to have a frustoconical leading edge. Bridgeport began selling its frustoconical connectors, including the 38ASP and 380SP connectors (collectively, New Connectors), under the Whipper-Snap® brand.

In February 2012, Arlington filed a motion for contempt, alleging that Bridgeport's New Connectors violated the 2004 Injunction. The district court held four days of hearings before issuing its contempt order and memorandum.

The district court acknowledged that the parties' dispute centered around two limitations of claim 1 of the '488 patent, and construed those limitations in its memorandum and contempt order. Additionally, the district court found by clear and convincing evidence that the New Connectors met the limitations of claim 1 of the '488 patent

Page 1336

and, thus, that Bridgeport directly and indirectly infringed ...


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