Patent Damages

C.D. Ill. says letter conveying “suspicion of infringement” sufficient to provide actual notice under § 287(a)

The Central District of Illinois, in Philippi-Hagenbuch, Inc. et al. v. Western Tech. Serv. Int’l, Inc. et al., Case No. 12-1099 (Judge James E. Shadid) (September 30, 2015), partially granted Plaintiff Philippi’s cross-motion for partial summary judgment on the proper damages period finding that Philippi’s May 2004 letter to Defendant Western was sufficient to provide actual notice under § 287(a).

Philippi and Western are competitors.  They both manufacture off-highway truck bodies and water tanks used in mining.  (slip op. at 1).  Philippi sued Western for infringing two of its patents related to water tanks on March 30, 2012.  The ’091 patent issued on April 15, 2003 and the ’507 patent issued on June 15, 2010.  Western took the position that Philippi was not entitled to damages prior to March 30, 2012 because Philippi did not provide actual or constructive notice earlier than the complaint.  Philippi took the position that its May 20, 2004 letter to Western was actual notice of both patents because the letter identified the ’091 patent and the application that matured into the ’507 patent.