Merchant & Gould Client Vermeer Manufacturing Company Wins Litigation Battle Against The Charles Machine Works

June 25, 2012

District Court Grants Motion by Vermeer Manufacturing for Summary Judgment of Non-Infringement

Merchant & Gould, an intellectual property law firm, today announced that its client Vermeer Manufacturing Company has prevailed in a patent litigation battle over The Charles Machine Works, Inc. The case involved U.S. Patent No. 5,490,569 directed to an apparatus and method for boring a hole with directional control using a two-pipe drill and mounted deflection shoe. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa granted summary judgment of non-infringement of favor of Vermeer Manufacturing on June 21, 2012.

Plaintiff The Charles Machine Works filed a patent infringement suit in 2011 alleging that Vermeer Manufacturing infringed the ‘569 patent. The Charles Machine Works had initially sought and was denied a preliminary injunction. After reviewing the meaning and scope of the patent claims, then comparing the claims to the accused device, the Court determined that Vermeer Manufacturing’s product does not infringe any claim of the patent either literally or under the doctrine of equivalents because it does not use a deflection shoe as that term is properly defined. The Court also noted that the “‘569 patent may be invalid as obvious and anticipated from prior art,” but found Vermeer’s motion for summary judgment of invalidity to be moot in view of its ruling on non-infringement.

“Vermeer Manufacturing does not infringe the ‘569 patent, and Thursday’s ruling was a welcome confirmation of that fact,” said Merchant & Gould partner Rachel Zimmerman. “We are obviously very pleased.”

Also involved from Merchant & Gould were Tom Leach, Joe Lee, Ryan Fletcher and David Schmaltz. Local counsel were Ed Remsburg and Amanda Wachuta of Ahlers & Cooney, P.C., Des Moines, IA.