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Summary Judgment Motion For Non-Infringement Requires Only Arguments, Not Evidence

Mar.29.2006

In Exigent Technology, Inc. v. Atrana Solutions, Inc. (No. 05-1338; March 22, 2006), the Federal Circuit affirms the district court's grant of summary judgment of non-infringement, and remands on other issues. Exigent sued Atrana for patent infringement. After close of fact discovery and a Markman hearing, Atrana filed a motion for summary judgment arguing, inter alia , non-infringement. The motion included a declaration from Atrana's chief executive stating that no Atrana system included particular claim limitations. Exigent did not file a substantive response to the motion. Instead it requested an extension of time to respond, which was subsequently denied by the district court. On appeal Exigent argues that Atrana's motion for summary judgment lacked sufficient evidence to establish non-infringement.

Relying upon Supreme Court precedent, the Federal Circuit holds that a party filing a summary judgment motion need not produce evidence demonstrating absence of a genuine issue of material fact for issues on which the opposing party bears the burden of proof at trial; the accused infringer need only argue non-infringement and identify claim limitations which are not met. The Court dismisses Exigent's argument that the applicable law of the circuit requires additional evidence of non-infringement as contrary to the Supreme Court precedent. Since Exigent bears the burden of proof on infringement, the Federal Circuit holds Atrana met its burden.

[http://fedcir.gov/opinions/05-1338.pdf ]

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