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H.H. Robertson, Co. v. United States Steel Deck, Inc.
United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
820 F.2d 384, 2 U.S.P.Q.2d 1926 (1987)
H. H. Robertson Company (Robertson) (plaintiff) sued United Steel Deck, Inc. (Steel Deck) and Nicholas J. Bouras, Inc. (Bouras) (defendants) in federal court for infringement of U.S. Patent No. 3,721,051 (the 051 patent). Robertson moved for a preliminary injunction to prevent Steel Deck and Bouras from making, selling, or using the accused structures. In an earlier case involving the 051 patent and different infringers, an Ohio court found that the 051 patent was valid. Steel Deck and Bouras supplied the prior-art references considered by the Ohio court to the district court for review, as well as three new prior-art references. The district court also heard expert testimony from each party on the issue of infringement. The district court issued a preliminary injunction, holding that Robertson had established a reasonable likelihood of success on the issues of patent validity and infringement. For the validity finding, the district court relied on the prior-art analysis of the Ohio court. The district court also held that irreparable injury was presumed because Robertson had established a likelihood of success on the issues of infringement and validity. The district court held that the balance of equities weighed in favor of granting a preliminary injunction after comparing Steel Deck and Bouras’s assertions that granting a preliminary injunction would disrupt business and cause job loss against Robertson’s assertions that denying the preliminary injunction would harm Robertson’s business and patent rights. Steel Deck and Bouras appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Newman, J.)
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