United States District Court, D. Minnesota
G. Carlson, Dennis C. Bremer, Nathan Louwagie, Peter
Kohlhepp, Samuel T. Lockner, CARLSON CASPERS VANDENBURGH
LINDQUIST & SCHUMAN PA, for plaintiff.
Herriges, John C. Adkisson, Conrad A. Gosen, Jason M. Zucchi,
Maria Elena Stiteler, FISH & RICHARDSON, for defendants.
R. TUNHEIM CHIEF JUDGE
Polaris Industries, Inc. (“Polaris”) brings these
patent-infringement actions against defendants Arctic Cat
Inc. and Arctic Cat Sales Inc. (collectively “Arctic
Cat”). Both parties moved for summary judgment on
various issues, and Arctic Cat moved to exclude Polaris
expert Timothy J. Nantell's opinion on lost profits. The
Court will deny Polaris's Motion for Partial Summary
Judgment regarding Arctic Cat's invalidity defense based
on the Kymco vehicle, and Arctic Cat's motions for
Summary Judgment of no lost profits of the ‘501 Patent
and to Exclude Expert Testimony of Timothy J. Nantell. The
Court will grant Polaris's motion for Summary Judgment of
infringement of the ‘501 Patent, and Arctic Cat's
motion for Summary Judgment of noninfringement of the
series of patent cases arises from the entry of Arctic Cat
into the market for 4x4 Trail Recreational Off-Road Vehicles
(“4x4 Trail ROV”). Prior to 2013, Polaris had a
90% market share in the 4x4 Trail ROV market. Polaris
Indus. Inc. v. Arctic Cat Inc., No. 15-4475, 2017 WL
1180426, at *1 (D. Minn. Mar. 29, 2017). In 2013, Arctic Cat
introduced a competing product-the Wildcat Trail-which
allegedly reduced Polaris's market share by 10%.
Id. In response, Polaris filed five separate patent
infringement actions-two of which are the instant cases.
Id. at *1-2. Specifically, Polaris alleged
infringement of Claim 1 of the '449 Patent in November
2015 (No. 15-4129) and infringement of Claims 1, 10, and 11
of the '501 Patent in December 2015 (No. 15-4475).
Id. at *2.
patents at issue are discussed briefly here. Because of the
number of summary judgment motions discussed in this opinion,
facts relevant to each motion will be discussed in the
analysis section for those motions.
of the ‘449 Patent states:
A vehicle, comprising: . . . . a generally U-shaped sway bar
having a first end portion coupled to the first suspension, a
second end portion coupled to the second suspension, and a
middle portion supported by the frame, the first end portion
and the second end portion are longitudinally positioned
between the seating and the middle portion, the generally
U-shaped sway bar being rotatably coupled to the frame and
the middle portion is a continuous section which extends
across a central longitudinal plane of the vehicle and
the middle portion is positioned rearward of a rear
end of the frame, wherein the first shock and the
second shock are spaced apart from an interior region
of the generally U-shaped sway bar.
(Decl. of Joseph A. Herriges in Supp. of Def.'s Opening
Claim Construction Brief (“Herriges Decl.”), Ex.
A at 44, Mar. 31, 2017, No. 15-4475, Docket No. 137 (emphasis
1 of the ‘501 Patent states:
A vehicle comprising: . . . . an air intake system
operatively coupled to the CVT [transmission] unit to
communicate ambient air to an interior of the CVT
[transmission] unit, the air intake system receiving
ambient air through an 45 inlet in a portion of the plurality
of exterior body panels, the inlet in the portion of the
plurality of exterior body panels being located rearward of
the first wheel of the first ground engaging member and
forward of the second wheel of the second ground engaging
member and 50 located laterally outside of a lateral extent
of the power source and the CVT unit.
(Herriges Decl., Ex. B at 111 (emphasis added).) Claim 10
The vehicle of claim 9, further comprising: a second air
intake system operatively coupled to the internal combustion
engine to communicate ambient air to the internal
combustion engine for combustion of the fuel, the
second air intake system including a second air inlet in the
plurality of exterior body panels through which ambient air
enters the second air intake system, the second air intake
system includes an airbox located rearward of the drive
member of the CVT unit and below the cargo carrying portion,
the airbox includes a base portion and a cover, the cover of
the airbox is locate rearward of the base portion of the
airbox, a filter is positioned in an interior of the airbox,
the cover is removably coupled to the base portion to permit
access to the filter.
(Id. (emphasis added).) And Claim 11 provides:
The vehicle of claim 10, wherein the air inlet and the second
air inlet are located rearward of a center of gravity
of the vehicle.
(Id. at 112 (emphasis added).)
Court issued an Order Construing Claim Terms on December 14,
2017 for both the '449 Patent and the '501 Patent.
(Mem. Op. and Order Construing Claim Terms, Dec. 14, 2017,
No. 15-4129, Docket No. 97, No. 15-4475, Docket No. 192.) hi
that Order, the Court construed the disputed claim terms as
"the middle portion is positioned rearward of
a rear end of the frame"
"the middle of the sway bar is rearward of the
rear end of the frame where the middle portion is
positioned on the frame"
"spaced apart from an interior region of the
generally U-shaped sway bar"
"when viewed from above, located outside an
area defined by the interior region of the
generally U-shaped sway bar"
[Claims 1, 101
"communicate ambient ah to an interior of the
transmission or engine
Plain and ordinary meaning
"a center of gravity of the vehicle"
Plain and ordinary meaning
STANDARD OF REVIEW
judgment is appropriate when there are no genuine issues of
material fact and the moving party can demonstrate that it is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
A fact is material if it might affect the outcome of the
suit, and a dispute is genuine if the evidence is such that
it could lead a reasonable jury to return a verdict for
either party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A court considering a motion for
summary judgment must view the facts in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party and give that party the
benefit of all reasonable inferences to be drawn from those
facts. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).
Exclusion of Expert Testimony
Federal Rule of Evidence 702, expert testimony must satisfy
three prerequisites to be admitted:
First, evidence based on scientific, technical, or other
specialized knowledge must be useful to the
finder of fact in deciding the ultimate issue of fact. This
is the basic rule of relevancy. Second, the proposed witness
must be qualified to assist the finder of
fact. Third, the proposed evidence must be reliable
or trustworthy in an evidentiary sense, so that, if
the finder of fact accepts it as true, it provides the
assistance the finder of fact requires.
Lauzon v. Senco Prods., Inc., 270 F.3d 681, 686
(8th Cir. 2001) (emphasis added) (cleaned up). The
Court has a “gatekeeping” obligation to make
certain that all testimony admitted under Rule 702 satisfies
these prerequisites. Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharm.,
Inc., 509 U.S. 579, 597 (1993).
702 requires that an expert possess “knowledge, skill,
experience, training, or education sufficient to assist the
trier of fact .” Robinson v. GEICO Gen. Ins.
Co., 447 F.3d 1096, 1100 (8th Cir. 2006)
(internal quotations omitted). But this requirement is
“satisfied where expert testimony advances the trier of
fact's understanding to any degree,
” and “[g]aps in an expert witness's
qualifications or knowledge generally go to the weight of the
witness's testimony, not its admissibility.”
Id. (internal quotations omitted) (emphasis added).
“Although the factual basis of an expert's opinion
is generally an issue of credibility rather than
admissibility, an expert's opinion should be excluded if
it ‘is so fundamentally unsupported that it can offer
no assistance to the jury.'” Cole v. Homier
Distrib. Co., 599 F.3d 856, 865 (8th Cir.
2010) (quoting Bonner v. ISP Techs., Inc., 259 F.3d
924, 929-30 (8th Cir. 2001)).
the Court “should resolve doubts regarding the
usefulness of an expert's testimony in favor of
admissibility.” Marmo v. Tyson Fresh Meats,
Inc., 457 F.3d 748, 758 (8th Cir. 2006).
“‘Vigorous cross-examination, presentation of
contrary evidence, and careful instruction on the burden of
proof are the traditional and appropriate means of attacking
shaky but admissible evidence.'” Robinson,
447 F.3d at 1100 (quoting Daubert, 509 U.S. at 595).
Nevertheless, overly speculative testimony should not be
admitted, and the Court should not admit opinion evidence
that is “connected to existing data only by the
ipse dixit of the expert.” Gen. Elec. Co.
v. Joiner, 522 U.S. 136, 146 (1997).