Arlington Ind., Inc. v. Bridgeport Fittings, Inc.: No Jurisdiction Over Court-Issued Injunction, After Initial Settlement Injunction Breached

Category: Civil Procedure    
By: Jesus Hernandez, Blog Editor/Contributor 
TitleArlington Ind., Inc. v. Bridgeport Fittings, Inc., No. 2013-1357 (Fed. Cir. July 17, 2014).
IssueBridgeport argues that we have jurisdiction over its appeal [for contempt of an injunction] under both § 1292(c)(1) and § 1292(c)(2).
Arlington Ind., Inc. at *5.
HoldingBecause the district court’s order simply interpreted the 2004 Injunction and is not an otherwise final, appealable judgment, we dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.
Id. at *5.

Procedural HistoryAfter Arlington sued Bridgeport in 2004, the parties entered into a settlement agreement under which Bridgeport agreed to be enjoined from mak- ing and selling certain products and their “colorable imitations.” Bridgeport then redesigned its electrical connectors, and Arlington sought a contempt order hold- ing that these redesigned connectors violated the original agreement. The district court entered an order finding Bridgeport in contempt of the original injunction, but at the time of appeal, had not yet determined any sanctions for Bridgeport’s contempt. Bridgeport appeals the con- tempt order.
Arlington Ind., Inc. at *2.

Legal Reasoning Chen, Clevenger, Hughes)
Injunctions At Issue
2004 InjunctionIn April 2004, Bridgeport signed a settlement agree- ment stating that the ’488 patent was not invalid, was not unenforceable, and was infringed by Bridgeport’s 590- DCS and 590-DCSI Speed-SnapTM products (collectively, Old Connectors). In the settlement, Bridgeport also agreed to be “permanently enjoined from directly or indirectly making, using, selling, offering for sale or importing...the Speed-SnapTM products identified in this Action as Bridgeport’s 590-DCS and 590-DCSI or any colorable imitations of such Speed-SnapTM Fittings” (2004 Injunction). J.A. 64 (emphasis added).
Arlington Ind., Inc. at *3.
2013 Injunction[T]he district court determined that Bridgeport had violated the 2004 Injunction and held Bridgeport in contempt. In its contempt order, the district court also expressly enjoined the sale of the New Connectors for the life of the ’488 patent (2013 Injunction). The district court did not, however, enter sanctions at that time.
Id. at *4.
Appellate Review of Injunctions
GenerallyIn patent cases, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1292(a)(1) and (c)(1) provides for our exclusive jurisdiction over “interlocutory orders of district courts of the United States . . . granting, continuing, modifying, refusing or dissolving injunctions, or refusing to dissolve or modify injunctions . . . .” 28 U.S.C. § 1292 (a)(1). And § 1292(c)(2) gives us jurisdiction over “an appeal from a judgment in a civil action for patent infringement which would otherwise be appealable . . . and is final except for an accounting.” 28 U.S.C. § 1292(c)(2).
Id. at *5.
ModificationsWe can exercise appellate jurisdiction under § 1292(c)(1) if the injunction has been modified. Entegris, 490 F.3d at 1344–45. Thus, we must determine whether the district court’s order constitutes a modification, or is simply an interpretation or clarification.
Id. at *5-6.
Analysis: Comparison of 2004 and 2013 Injunctions
Subject Matter the SameThe 2004 Injunction and the 2013 Injunction are directed to the same parties, apply to the same activities, and are in force for the same time period. Compare J.A. 64 ¶ 2, with J.A. 29–30 ¶ 5. Similarly, the injunctions apply to the same products even though the actual word- ing in each injunction differs slightly. Compare J.A. 64 ¶ 2 (“Speed-SnapTM products identified in this Action as Bridgeport’s 590-DCS and 590-DCSI”), with J.A. 29–30 ¶ 5 (“Whipper-Snap 380SP and 38ASP model connectors”). Because the 2004 Injunction applies to “any colorable imitations” of the Old Connectors, J.A. 64 ¶ 2 (emphasis added), and the district court found that the New Connectors were colorable imitations of the Old Connectors, the district court’s express inclusion of the New Connect- ors in the 2013 Injunction simply clarifies what was already implicit in the 2004 Injunction. See Aevoe, 727 F.3d at 1382–83 (determining that the district court’s reinsertion of “colorable imitation” language and explicitly naming a previously enjoined party did not alter the legal relationship of the parties and was thus a clarification). Accordingly, because the injunctions cover the same parties, activities, products, and time periods, the slight word differences do not rise to the level of altering the parties’ legal relationship.
Arlington Ind., Inc. at *8.
Enjoined Activity the SameIn the 2004 Injunction, Bridgeport stipulated to infringement, and agreed to be permanently enjoined from “making, using, selling, offering for sale or importing” the Old Connectors or “any colorable imitations [thereof] during the term of United States Patent No. 6,335,488.” J.A. 63– 64. Nothing has changed from that to which Bridgeport agreed: In 2004 it agreed to be enjoined from making, using, selling, etc., specific products which infringe the method of claim 1 of the ’488 patent. The 2013 Injunction still enjoins Bridgeport from making, using, selling, etc., what the district court determined to be colorable imitations of products that infringe the method of claim 1 of the ’488 patent.
Id. at *9.
Claim Construction the SameBetween the 2004 Injunction and the 2013 Injunction, the claim language of the ’488 patent did not change. Thus, the actual meanings of those claim terms did not change, and the district court’s interpretation of the claim terms— whether or not it was expressly provided—did not change from one injunction to the next. Accordingly, the district court simply clarified the meaning of the claim terms implicated by both the 2004 Injunction and the 2013 Injunction.
Id. at *9-10.
Final Judgment Rule and Contempt Orders
We have recognized that § 1292(c)(2) “confers jurisdiction on this court to entertain appeals from patent infringement liability determinations when a trial on damages has not yet occurred.” Robert Bosch, LLC v. Pylon Mfg. Corp., 719 F.3d 1305, 1317 (Fed. Cir. 2013) […] Here, we are not considering a determination of patent infringement; we have before us a civil contempt order. And contempt proceedings and patent infringement cases are not co-extensive. See KSM Fastening Sys., Inc. v. H.A. Jones Co., 776 F.2d 1522, 1528 (Fed. Cir. 1985) […] Thus, although Congress created an exception to the final judgment rule in patent cases via §1292(c)(2), this patent carve-out does not expressly include contempt orders. Accordingly, § 1292(c)(2) does not extend to contempt orders. See Johannsen, 918 F.2d at 163 […]
Arlington Ind., Inc. at *11-12 (some citations omitted).
For the foregoing reasons, the appeal is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
Arlington Ind., Inc. at *13.

Image Attribution Statement: Jeanne Menj, “Iran - a village in the desert, broken houses after an earthquake in 1968”, available under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Iran_-_a_village_in_the_desert,_broken_houses_after_an_earthquake_in_1968_(9249957940).jpg (last visited July 21, 2014) (image edited).

© 2000-2023, Journal of the Patent & Trademark Office Society
Disclaimer & Privacy Policy