EKO BRANDS, LLC v. ADRIAN RIVERA MAYNEZ ENTERPRISES, INC.

EKO BRANDS, LLC v. ADRIAN RIVERA MAYNEZ ENTERPRISES, INC., Appeals Nos. 2018-2215 and 2018-2254 (Fed. Cir. January 13, 2020).  Before Dyk, Reyna, and Hughes.  Appealed from W.D. Wash. (Judge Donohue).  (Attorney’s Fees)

Background:

Adrian Rivera Maynez (“ARM”) sued Eko at the International Trade Commission (“ITC”), alleging infringement of the claims of an ARM patent directed to an adaptor device for use with Keurig single-brew coffee machines. In earlier proceedings involving other respondents, the ITC found all but two claims of that patent invalid for lack of written description. Eko defaulted with respect to these surviving claims, and the ITC issued a limited exclusion order and a cease-and-desist order.

Eko then filed an action in the Western District of Washington, seeking declaratory judgment as to invalidity of those claims on obviousness grounds. ARM counterclaimed for infringement. Although it granted summary judgment of non-infringement, the district court denied Eko’s motion for summary judgment as to obviousness, finding that there remained disputed issues of material fact. At trial, the jury found the two claims obvious, and the district court awarded Eko attorney’s fees. ARM appealed to the Federal Circuit.

Issue/Holding:

Did the district court err in finding the claims obvious and awarding attorney’s fees?  (continue reading)

Summary by:  James Potts

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