Pacific Coast Marine Decision Confirms Application of Prosecution History Estoppel to Designs

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The Federal Circuit handed down a 3-0 decision on Jan. 8, 2014, in Pacific Coast Marine Windshields Limited v. Malibu Boats, LLC et al., recognizing that the concept of prosecution history estoppel applies to design patents. The decision was authored by Judge Dyk, who was joined by Judges Mayer and Chen.

The Federal Circuit overturned a Middle District of Florida’s grant of Malibu Boats’ motion for summary judgment of non-infringement, finding that prosecution history estoppel barred the infringement claim. The Federal Circuit held that the principles of prosecution history estoppel apply to design patents, but reversed the district court’s summary judgment of non-infringement because the accused infringing design was not within the scope of the subject matter surrendered during prosecution.

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