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Carrier Corp. v. Goodman Global, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

August 14, 2014

CARRIER CORPORATION, Plaintiff,
v.
GOODMAN GLOBAL, INC., GOODMAN MANUFACTURING COMPANY, L.P., GOODMAN GLOBAL HOLDINGS, INC., GOODMAN DISTRIBUTION, INC., AND GOODMAN SALES COMPANY, Defendants,

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Jack B. Blumenfeld, Esquire and Maryellen Noreika, Esquire of Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Plaintiff. Of Gregg F. LoCascio, P.C., Esquire, Sean M. McEldowney, Esquire, Anders P. Fjellstedt, Esquire, Joseph Edell, Esquire, Abigail E. Lauer, Esquire of Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

Frederick L. Cottrell, III, Esquire and Jason J. Rawnsley, Esquire of Richards, Layton & Finger, P.A., Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Defendants. Of Scott F. Partridge, Esquire, Paul R. Morico, Esquire, Robinson Vu, Esquire, Ali Dhanani, Esquire, Lisa Maria Thomas, Esquire, and Michelle J. Eber, Esquire of Baker Botts L.L.P.

OPINION

Page 608

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Sue L. Robinson, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Carrier Corporation (" Carrier" ) commenced this litigation on July 19, 2012, against defendants Goodman Global, Inc., Goodman Manufacturing Company, L.P., Goodman Global Holdings, Inc., Goodman Distribution, Inc., and Goodman Sales Company (collectively, " Goodman" ) alleging patent infringement. (D.I. 1) Goodman answered the complaint and asserted counterclaims on September 28, 2012. (D.I. 16; D.I. 17) Carrier answered the counterclaims on October 22, 2012. (D.I. 25) Carrier filed an unopposed motion for leave to file a first amended complaint on January 31, 2013 and Carrier filed a second amended complaint on February 5, 2013. (D.I. 50; D.I. 51) Goodman answered the amended complaint and counterclaimed on February 22, 2013. (D.I. 55; D.I. 56) On March 15, 2013, Carrier answered the counterclaims. (D.I. 60)

Presently before the court are several motions: Goodman's motion for summary judgment of non-infringement (D.I. 235); motion for summary judgment of invalidity (D.I. 240); [1] and motion to strike and exclude certain expert testimony (D.I. 236); as well as Carrier's amended motion for summary judgment of validity (D.I. 244).[2] The court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § § 1331 and 1338(a).

II. BACKGROUND

A. Parties

Carrier is a corporation organized under the laws of Delaware with a principal place of business at One Carrier Place, Farmington, CT 06032. Goodman Global, Inc. is a corporation organized under the laws of Delaware. Goodman Manufacturing Company, L.P. is a partnership organized under the laws of Texas. Goodman Global Holdings, Inc. is a corporation organized under the laws of Delaware. Goodman Distribution, Inc. is a corporation organized under the laws of Texas. Goodman Distribution, Inc. is qualified with the Delaware Secretary of State to do business in Delaware, and its registered agent in Delaware is The Corporation Trust Company, located at 1209 Orange Street, Wilmington, DE 19801. Goodman Sales Company is a corporation organized under the laws of Texas. Each of the Goodman defendants has a principal place of business at 5151 San Felipe Street, Suite 500, Houston, TX 77056.

B. Patent

Carrier asserts that certain of Goodman's products infringe claims 6-9, 12-14, and 16-18 of U.S. Patent No. 7,243,004 (" the '004 patent" ), titled " Self-Configuring Controls for Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning Systems," filed January 7,

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2004 and issued July 10, 2007.[3] The '004 patent is directed to a self-configuring HVAC system, wherein HVAC " units are provided with an electronic control that reports the unit's particular characteristics to a central control. The central control takes in the characteristics of each of the several units, and has available to it optimum operational strategies based upon the combination of several units that have reported." (1:51-58)[4]

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

" The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party bears the burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 n.10, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986). A party asserting that a fact cannot be--or, alternatively, is--genuinely disputed must support the assertion either by citing to " particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for the purposes of the motions only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials," or by " showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A) & (B). If the moving party has carried its burden, the nonmovant must then " come forward with specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587 (internal quotation marks omitted). The court will " draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party, and it may not make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence." Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150, 120 S.Ct. 2097, 147 L.Ed.2d 105 (2000).

To defeat a motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party must " do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586-87; see also Podohnik v. U.S. Postal Service, 409 F.3d 584, 594 (3d Cir. 2005) (stating party opposing summary judgment " must present more than just bare assertions, conclusory allegations or suspicions to show the existence of a genuine issue" ) (internal quotation marks omitted). Although the " mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment," a factual dispute is genuine where " the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). " If the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted." Id. at 249-50 (internal citations omitted); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986) (stating entry of ...


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