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Schwendimann v. Arkwright Advanced Coating, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

February 26, 2018

JODI A. SCHWENDIMANN, f/k/a JODI A. DALVEY Plaintiff,
v.
ARKWRIGHT ADVANCED COATING, INC. Defendant. ARKWRIGHT ADVANCED COATING, INC. Counterclaim Plaintiff,
v.
JODI A. SCHWENDIMANN, f/k/a JODI A. DALVEY and COOLER CONCEPTS, INC. Counterclaim Defendants.

          David A. Davenport, Devan V. Padmanabhan, and Michelle E. Dawson, WINTHROP & WEINSTINE, PA, for Jodi A. Schwendimann and Cooler Concepts, Inc.

          Katherine J. Rahlin, Kurt J. Niederluecke, and Laura L. Myers, FREDRIKSON & BYRON, PA, for Arkwright Advanced Coating, Inc.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN R. TUNHEIM CHIEF JUDGE

         Plaintiff Jodi Schwendimann brought this patent-infringement action against Arkwright Advanced Coating, Inc. (“AACI”), for infringement of a number of patents related to dark T-shirt transfer technology. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Schwendimann, finding that “Schwendimann has proven that AACI has directly infringed at least one claim of the '623, '581, '475, '042, or '554 Patents.” AACI renews its motion for judgment as a matter of law that it does not infringe the Schwendimann patents. In the alternative, AACI moves for a new trial on this issue. The Court will deny both of AACI's motions.

         BACKGROUND

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         A. Schwendimann's Patents

         Schwendimann's companies, NuCoat and Cooler Concepts, manufacture and sell specialty paper products, including inkjet image-transfer paper or sheets. Schwendimann alleged that AACI's “888” and “889” products infringe five of Schwendimann's patents:

1. U.S. Reissued Patent No. RE41, 623 (“the '623 Patent”)
2. U.S. Patent No. 7, 749, 581 (“the '581 Patent”)
3. U.S. Patent No. 7, 754, 042 (“the '042 Patent”)
4. U.S. Patent No. 7, 766, 475 (“the '475 Patent”)
5. U.S. Patent No. 7, 771, 554 (“the '554 Patent”)

         Claim 6 of the '623 Patent provides:

An image transfer sheet, comprising:
a colored[, ] substrate comprising woven, fabric based material, or paper;
a release layer overlaying the substrate, wherein the release layer is impregnated with titanium oxide or other white pigment or luminescent pigment; and
a polymer layer.

(Trial Ex. P005 (“'623 Patent”) at 15, Nov. 20, 2017, Docket No. 751.)

         Claim 24 of the '581 Patent provides:

An image transfer article, comprising:
a removable substrate including a substrate surface overlaid with a release coating; and
a first layer overlaying the release coating, the first layer configured to be overlaid with at least a second layer configured to receive indicia;
wherein the first layer includes a concentration or configuration of pigment providing an opaque background having a substantially non-transparent effect for received and transferred indicia.

(Trial Ex. P001 (“'581 Patent”) at 17, Nov. 20, 2017, Docket No. 751.)

         Claim 26 of the '581 Patent, which depends from claim 24, provides:

The article of claim 24, wherein the second layer includes an ink-receptive polymer.

(Id.)

         Claim 1 of the '475 Patent provides:

An ink-jet transfer article, comprising:
a substrate member including a substrate ...

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