Baron Services v. Media Weather Innovations, Case Nos. 2012-1285 & 2012-1443, Slip Op. (Fed. Cir. May 7, 2013)
This was an appeal from a Northern District of Alabama order granting summary judgment of non-infringement and attorneys’ fees to Media Weather Innovations (“MWI”). Early in the case, Baron Services (“Baron”) had asked for source code for MWI’s product, and MWI moved for a protective order that was granted by the Court.
After Baron produced infringement contentions, MWI moved for summary judgment. In particular, MWI produced two declarations signed by employees stating that MWI could not infringe Baron’s patent. Baron opposed summary judgment on the grounds that claim terms had not been construed, Baron had not been able to review MWI’s source code, and Baron had not been able to depose the declarants. Despite Baron’s protestations, the District Court granted MWI’s motion for summary judgment, and stated that Baron’s never asked for more time to complete discovery, or argued that it required MWI’s source code to prosecute its case. The trial court also awarded attorneys’s fees.
Baron appealed, and the Federal Circuit reversed. In particular, the Federal Circuit indicated that the grant of summary judgment was premature as Baron had been unable to even review MWI’s source code or depose the declarants who opined that MWI could not infringe Baron’s patent.