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Chiuminatta Concrete Concepts, Inc. v. Cardinal Indus., Inc.
United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
145 F.3d 1303, 46 U.S.P.Q.2d 1752 (1998)
Chiuminatta Concrete Concepts, Inc. (Chiuminatta) (plaintiff) owned United States Patent B1 5,056,499 (the 499 patent) and United States Patent B1 4,889,675. The patents claimed an apparatus and method for cutting soft concrete with a rotary saw. Claim 11 of the 499 patent, the only apparatus claim, contained a means-plus-function limitation claiming a “means . . . for supporting the surface of the concrete” to protect against chipping. A skid plate was the only structure disclosed in the patent for the purpose of preventing chipping. The 499 patent specification identified the only structure performing the function of supporting the concrete surface as a hard, flat skid plate that slid over the surface of the concrete. Cardinal Industries, Inc., and Green Machine Corporation (collectively, Cardinal) (defendants) produced and sold a Green Machine saw that included small, soft, rolling wheels that served the same function as the skid plate—supporting the surface of the concrete to avoid chipping. However, the wheels and skid plate impacted the concrete differently. Chiuminatta sued Cardinal in federal court for literal infringement of claims including Claim 11 of the 499 patent. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Chiuminatta, finding that Cardinal literally infringed the 499 patent by selling the saw with wheels. Cardinal appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Lourie, J.)
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