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Computer Docking Station Corp. v. Dell, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
519 F.3d 1366 (2008)


Facts

Computer Docking Station Corporation (“CDSC”) (plaintiff) invented, and obtained the ‘645 patent for, a type of portable “brick” computer that did not have a built-in display or keyboard. CDSC’s unit could be connected however to external devices such as a monitor, keyboard, or mouse using either an individual connector or through “docking” connectors which allowed for a single connector. CDSC brought suit against Dell, Inc., Gateway, Inc., Toshiba America, Inc., and Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc. (collectively “Dell”) (defendants) in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin for infringement of the ‘645 patent. However, the alleged infringing “portable computers” manufactured by Dell and the others contained built-in displays and keyboards. During prosecution of the ‘645 patent, the examiner rejected several of CDSC’s claims as being obvious in view of a patent granted to another company, Herron. Herron held a patent for a laptop computer and a docking module that allowed for the operation of a desktop computer with similar connection features as CDSC’s invention. Attempting to distinguish its invention from Herron’s, CDSC defined its portable computer in different terms, but clearly excluded claims applicable to laptops with built-in displays and keyboards. Dell filed a motion for summary judgment which was granted by the court and CDSC appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Rader, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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