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Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC v. TC Heartland, LLC

United States District Court, D. Delaware

January 12, 2017

KRAFT FOODS GROUP BRANDS LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
TC HEARTLAND, LLC d/b/a HEARTLAND FOOD PRODUCTS GROUP and HEARTLAND PACKAGING CORPORATION, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM ORDER

          HON. LEONARD P. STARK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         1. On July 6, 2016, plaintiff Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC ("Kraft") filed a motion seeking summary judgment of infringement of claims 1 and 15 of U.S. Patent No. 8, 603, 557 (the '"557 patent") as well as claim 1 of U.S. Patent No. 8, 511, 472 (the '"472 patent").[1] (D.I. 317) Kraft also seeks summary judgment of no inequitable conduct associated with prosecution of the '557 patent. (See id.) The Court heard argument on this and other motions on August 30, 2016. (See D.I. 416 ("Tr."))

         2. Summary judgment is appropriate if "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. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 585-86 (1986).

         3. According to Kraft, undisputed facts show that certain lots of Heartland products literally infringe the patents-in-suit. An accused product infringes a patent claim when it meets every limitation of the asserted claims. See Warner-Jenkinson Co. v. Hilton Davis Chem. Co., 520 U.S. 17, 40 (1997). In analyzing literal infringement, the Court must first interpret the claims of the patent, and then compare the allegedly infringing product to the claims as construed.[2] See Intellectual Sci. & Tech., Inc. v. Sony Elees., Inc., 589 F.3d 1179, 1183 (Fed. Cir. 2009). Kraft contends that the accused products satisfy each limitation of the patents-in-suit.

         4. The '557 patent relates to a flavored liquid beverage concentrate comprising certain ingredients and packaged in a particular manner. In support of its motion, Kraft submitted a summary of Heartland operational documents showing the pH and both the relative and absolute amounts of the ingredients in Heartland's accused products. (D.I. 327-10 at 2-16 of 28; see also D.L 318 at 12-16) Among other materials, Kraft also submitted expert reports of Dr. Marvin J. Rudolph (see D.L 324) and Dr. S. Paul Singh (see D.I. 330).

         5. Claim 1 of the '557 patent claims:

A packaged flavored liquid beverage concentrate comprising:
a container body having a closed bottom end, a top end with a neck defining an outlet opening and a sidewall extending between the top and bottom ends to define an interior of the container body accessible through the outlet of the top end, the sidewall being flexible and resilient, the sidewall including opposing front and rear walls and a pair of opposing end walls extending there between, the opposing front and rear walls having a maximum width that is greater than a maximum width of the end walls;
a flavored liquid beverage concentrate in the interior of the container body comprising:
about 30 to about 65 percent water by weight;
about 15 to about 30 percent acid by weight;
up to about 10 percent buffer by weight, the buffer selected from the group consisting of a potassium salt of an acid, a sodium salt of an acid, and combination thereof; and
about 1 to about 30 percent flavoring by weight,
the concentrate having a pH of about 1.9 to about 2.4 and a viscosity of about 1 to about 75 cP when measured at 20° C, and the concentrate having a concentration such that, when diluted at a ratio of about 1:75 to about 1:160 to provide a beverage, the concentrate delivers about 0.01 to about 0.8 ...

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