February 26, 2016 – On February 23, 2016, Judge George H. Wu of the United States District Court for the Central District of California granted Defendant Rodan & Fields, LLC’s motion for summary judgment on its defense of absolute intervening rights, limiting Plaintiff Altair Instruments Inc.’s ability to recover infringement damages. Under this defense, an owner of a patent that survives reexamination is only entitled to infringement damages for the time period between the date of issuance of the original claims and the date of issuance of the reexamined claims if the original and the reexamined claims are “substantially identical.” On the other hand, if a substantive change is made to the original claims during reexamination, the patentee is entitled to infringement damages only for the time period following issuance of the reexamination certificate.
After consideration of the entire intrinsic record, the court found that Altair Instruments Inc.’s amendments and associated representations during the patent-at-issue’s second reexamination narrowed the scope of claims and therefore, were not substantially identical. The case is captioned Altair Instruments, Inc. v. Rodan & Fields, LLC, Civil Action No. CV 13-7448 (C.D. Cal.) and the patent-at-issue is U.S. Patent No. 6,241,739, entitled “Microdermabrasion Device and Method of Treating the Skin Surface.”
By: Giancarlo L. Scaccia