LOS ANGELES – After a nearly four week-long trial in the United States District Court, Southern District of California, Loeb & Loeb LLP secured a significant victory for client Illinois Tool Works (ITW), a global industrial equipment manufacturer, in a patent-infringement jury trial concerning tools and methods for cleaning automotive intake systems. On November 19, 2012, the jury concluded that defendant MOC Products Company, Inc. (MOC) willfully infringed U.S. Patent No. 6,073,638 (‘638) held by ITW, and ordered the defendant to pay $5.5 million in damages, with the possibility of treble damages.
The suit was first filed in 2009 by ITW, doing business as Wynn’s, claiming that MOC’s Universal Induction Tool, manufactured and sold for the purpose of cleaning automobile intake systems, infringed the ‘638 patent. The patent discloses a method and apparatus for cleaning intake systems and combustion chambers, utilizing a specialized nozzle and the automobile's intake vacuum to create an atomized mist of cleaning fluid. MOC’s Universal Induction Tool was introduced to the market in 2001, just months after one of the original inventors of the ‘638 patent left Wynn’s to join MOC. The defendant argued that the patent was invalid based on obviousness and anticipation. The jury reached several factual findings on non-obviousness and also found in favor of ITW on the anticipation claim. MOC was ordered to pay damages covering lost profits and royalties going back to 2003.
"We are confident that the judge will rule in ITW’s favor on the obviousness question and we will be asking the court to treble the damages based on the willfulness of MOC’s actions,” said Mark D. Campbell, partner and Deputy Co-Chair of Loeb & Loeb’s Litigation Department.
“The jury’s decision recognizes the infringement and validity of ITW’s patent and affirms the value of this important innovation," added Darren Farrugia, Vice President and General Manager, ITW Automotive Aftermarket. “We are extremely pleased with the outcome as well as our outstanding legal representation over the past three years, including the exceptional work of the trial team.”
Loeb & Loeb's trial team acting on behalf of ITW was led by partner Laura A. Wytsma.
ITW is a Fortune 150 global diversified industrial manufacturer of value-added consumables and specialty equipment with related service businesses. The company focuses on profitable growth and strong returns across worldwide platforms and businesses. The businesses serve local customers and markets around the globe, with a significant presence in developed as well as emerging markets.
Loeb & Loeb’s Patent Litigation and Counseling Practice represents clients from around the world in all manner of patent disputes, as well as patent prosecution and strategic counseling. The firm has litigated infringement, validity and enforceability of patents in every technology field, including biotechnology; computer hardware and software; consumer products; industrial products; medical devices; and pharmaceuticals.