United States District Court, D. Minnesota
M. Weyrauch, Esq. Paul P. Kempf, Esq., and Peter R. Forrest,
Esq., Dicke, Billig & Czaja, PLLC, counsel for Plaintiff.
Jeffrey Carl Brown, Esq., Sapientia Law Group; and Sander J.
Morehead, Esq. and Tim R. Shattuck, Esq., Woods Fuller Shultz
& Smith, P.C., counsel for Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
DONOVAN W. FRANK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Defendant Masaba, Inc.'s
(“Masaba”) Motion for Attorneys' Fees. (Doc.
No. 256.) The Court assumes the reader's familiarity with
the basic facts of this case, which are set out in detail in
the Court's prior orders. In short, this action involved
allegations by Plaintiff Superior Industries, Inc.
(“Superior”) that Masaba infringed claims of U.S.
Patent No. 7, 424, 943 (the '943 Patent), U.S. Patent No.
7, 607, 529 (the '529 Patent), and U.S. Patent No. 7,
845, 482 (the '482 Patent) (together the “Unloader
Patents”) by selling certain truck unloaders, and
that Masaba infringed claims of U.S. Patent No. 7, 470, 101
(the '101 Patent) and U.S. Patent No. 7, 618, 231 (the
'231 Patent”) (together, the “Support Strut
Patents”) by selling certain telescoping conveyors.
(Doc. No. 36 (“Am. Compl.”) ¶¶ 14-32.)
Masaba filed amended counterclaims seeking, in relevant part,
declaratory judgment that the patents-in-suit are invalid.
August 2012, the Court issued a Markman Order
construing the disputed claims. (Doc. No. 118 (the
“Markman Order”).) The key constructions
• “support frame” - a frame consisting of a
pair of side frame members and an end frame member that
provides a barrier for supporting an earthen ramp that can
also provide support for a pivoting ramp when it is in a
• “ramp section” - first/second ramp section
including a ramp and a frame consisting of a pair of side
frame members and an end frame member that provides a barrier
for supporting an earthen ramp that can also provide support
for the pivoting ramp when it is in a lowered position;
• “channel beam” - a metal beam having a
perimeter wall with three complete sides and one partial side
configured to substantially surround all four sides of the
respective beam it engages with; and
• “elongate opening” - slot defined by the
openings in the partial fourth sides of the channel beams.
on these constructions, Superior conceded that it could not
prove infringement and filed a motion seeking entry of
judgment of non-infringement and dismissal of the invalidity
claims. (Doc. Nos. 143 & 144.) The Court granted
Superior's motion for judgment of non-infringement. (Doc.
No. 154.) Superior appealed the Markman Order to the
Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. (Doc. No. 159.)
January 16, 2014, the Federal Circuit vacated and remanded
the case for clarification, instructing the Court to provide
a factual context to the disputed claim-construction issues
so that the Federal Circuit could determine which of the
claim constructions would affect the infringement analysis.
Superior Indus., Inc. v. Masaba, Inc., 553
F. App'x 986, 989-91 (2014) (“Superior
I”). Masaba filed a Second Motion for Summary
Judgment of Non-Infringement. (Doc. No. 190.) The Court found
that Masaba's accused unloaders do not contain a
“support frame, ” that Masaba's support
struts do not include a “channel beam, ” and
therefore that Masaba's accused unloaders and support
struts do not infringe any of the asserted patent claims.
(Doc. No. 226 at 8-17.) The Court granted summary judgment in
favor of Masaba. (Id. at 17.) Superior appealed the
decision. On June 2, 2016, the Federal Circuit issued an
opinion affirming the Court's claim construction and
grant of summary judgment. Superior Indus., Inc. v.
Masaba, Inc., 650 F. App'x 994 (2016)
(“Superior II”). In particular, the
Federal Circuit found the Court's construction of
“support frame” and “ramp section, ”
both of which required the support frame to be capable of
supporting an earthen ramp, to be consistent with the
explicit definitions of those terms in the Unloader Patents.
Id. at 998-99. The Federal Circuit further
The [district] court determined that Masaba's accused
[unloader] designs do not infringe because they lack an end
frame member and use steel ramps, not earthen ramps. In
particular, the [district] court explained that Masaba's
designs A-C have “no structure between the pivoting
ramps and the portable steel access ramps that comprises a
barrier at all, ” and Masaba's designs D and E
“do not have any structure that could be characterized
as a ramp support frame.”
(Id. at 998 (citations omitted).) The Federal
Circuit noted that Superior argued that the court erred in
construing “ramp section” to require a
“support frame, ” that in turn requires the
presence of an earthen ramp, but found that argument
unpersuasive in light of the claim language and
specification. (Id. at 998-99.) In addition, the
Federal Circuit found that the construction of “channel
beam” was correct because the specification and claims
of the Strut Patents “make clear that a ‘channel
beam' must have four sides, where the fourth side is a
partial side.” (Id. at ...