On December 14, 2011, the Chief U.S. District Judge, District of Idaho, ruled that Escort, Inc. () infringed U.S. Patent No. RE39,038. Specifically, the Court ruled that Escort’s Passport 9500i, Passport 9500ix, and Passport iQ radar detectors, together with Beltronics USA’s () GX65 radar detectors, infringe claims 18, 45, 47, and 48 of U.S. Patent No. RE39,038 (“the ‘038 patent”). The Court also granted partial summary judgment of infringement with respect to each of those products regarding ‘038 patent claims 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 25, 26, 27, and 28, and U.S. Patent No. RE40,653 (“the ‘653 patent”) claims 22 and 26. A redacted version of the Court’s 58 page order was unsealed earlier today. A copy of the 58 page order can be obtained at: ..
The ‘038 and the ‘653 patents are owned by Hoyt Fleming, an Idaho inventor of 36 U.S. patents. In early 2008, Escort declined to purchase the ‘038 patent. Approximately one year later, on March 10, 2009, Mr. Fleming filed a complaint (Case Number 1:09-cv-00105-BLW, United States District Court District of Idaho) alleging that Escort and Beltronics USA infringed the ‘038 and the ‘653 patents.
Escort alleged that certain claims of the patents were invalid because Steven Orr, working for Escort, invented the same device earlier in time than Fleming. However, on December 14, 2011, the Court denied Escort’s motion to invalidate claims of the Fleming patents based upon Steven Orr’s alleged work for Escort. The Court also denied Escort’s motions to strike Fleming’s expert reports and strike Fleming’s contention that Escort willfully infringes Fleming’s patents.
In contrast to denying Escort’s motions, the Court granted the overwhelming majority of Mr. Fleming’s motions for judgment on Escort’s defenses, including: (1) laches; (2) equitable estoppel; (3) prosecution history estoppel for certain claims; (4) ownership of Mr. Fleming’s patents; (5) inequitable conduct; (6) intervening rights on certain claims; and (7) anticipation of claim 1 in view of a Japanese patent.
In the order the Court stated that Escort’s interpretation of the Court’s rules was“absurd”, that Escort’s arguments were “in fact contrary to law”, and many of Escort’s expert “opinions are irrelevant”.
“I am very happy with the order. The Court ruled that Escort is infringing one of my patents. I am looking forward to a short trial in June so that I can prove that Escort’s infringement is willful and obtain an injunction to stop Escort’s infringement,” said Mr. Fleming.
Mr. Fleming is represented by Mr. Michael S. Dowler of Park, Vaughan, Fleming, and Dowler LLP in Houston, Texas. Escort and Beltronics USA are represented by Brett A. Schatz and Gregory F. Ahrens of Wood Herron & Evans in Cincinnati, OH. The Court has set trial for June 18, 2012 in Boise, ID.
Escort is a portfolio company of Falconhead Capital LLC (), an investment firm in New York, New York. David Morros, the Founder and CEO of Falconhead, Zuher Ladak, a partner of Falconhead, and David Yarnell, an Operating Partner of Falconhead, sit on the board of Escort.